- B.Sc.(Env), University of Guelph, 1999
- Adv. Diploma, Marine Geomatics, College of Geographic Sciences, 2000
- M.Sc. (Zoology), University of Guelph, 2002
- Ph.D. (Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology), Iowa State University, 2006
- Postdoc, Trent University, 2006-2008
Population Ecology, Landscape Ecology, Spatial Statistics, Aquatic Ecology, Geographic Information Systems
Spatial Ecology and Conservation Ecology
Current Research Projects
My interests revolve around understanding the biological processes and mechanisms underlying spatial patterns. Spatial patterns affect the distribution and diversity of species. Variation in spatial patterns affects the persistence of populations. I focus on the ecological movement through metapopulation theory which can help estimate the spatial ecology of species, populations, and communities. Metapopulation theory can be applied to host-parasite communities as well as species-resource spatial dynamics. I have used spatial ecology concepts to consider spatial distribution of mussels, fish, benthic invertebrates as well as terrestrial populations of dogwoods and wild radishes. These complex landscapes and the spatial ecology of species create dynamics that structure populations and communities. My current research emphasizes how populations and communities are connected by physical structure or functional connections (e.g., resources or host movement) in space and time and whether the variability of empirical data can be used to predict survival and distribution. Recent research focuses on effects of urbanization on aquatic water bodies and fragmentation of habitats by dams and culverts.
Ongoing (funded) projects in my lab include:
- Landscape ecology of native communities of molluscs in Michigan watersheds
- Deterministic factors of distribution of all molluscan fauna in the Grand River watershed
- Effects of dewatering of lakes due to dam restoration and replacement
- Analysis of habitat fragmentation due to culverts
- Assessing aquatic habitats in an urban landscape
- Host fish identification and propagation of at-risk mussels in the Great Lakes
These projects are funded by a variety of sources including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
- Spooner, D., Xenopoulos, M.A., Schneider, C., and D.A. Woolnough. Accepted. Co-extirpation of host-affiliate relationships in rivers: The role of climate change, water withdrawal, and host specificity. Global Change Biology.
- Downing, J.A., VanMeter, P. and D.A. Woolnough. Accepted. Suspects and evidence: a review of the causes of decline and extirpation in freshwater mussels. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation.
- Zanatta, D.T. and D.A. Woolnough. In press. Confirmation of Obovaria olivaria, Olive Hickorynut mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae), in the Mississagi River, Ontario Canada. Northeastern Naturalist. 11 pp. Manuscript No: NEN-896.
- Woolnough, D.A., J.A. Downing, and T.J. Newton. 2009. Fish movement and habitat use depends on water body size and shape. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 18: 83–91.
- Newton, T.J., D.A. Woolnough, and D.L. Strayer. 2008. Using landscape ecology to understand freshwater mussel populations. Journal of North American Benthological Society - Special Issue Invited 27(2):224-239.
- Zanatta, D.T., G.L. Mackie, J.L. Metcalfe-Smith, and D. Woolnough. 2002. A refuge for native freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) from impacts of the exotic zebra mussel ( Dreissena polymorpha) in Lake St. Clair. Journal of Great Lakes Research 28:479-489.