William Budnick, Ph.D.
I am a post-doctoral research associate working under Dr. Brian Roth examining and modelling eradication efforts of invasive crayfish species throughout the state of Michigan. I have been fortunate to work under various PIs throughout my education who encouraged me to develop a broad knowledge base and skill set to help me realize my goal of becoming an effective and collaborative researcher. In this frame, my work takes primarily two directions.
As a macroecologist, my work synthesizes broad spatial and temporal scale patterns in ecological datasets to identify relevant processes and mechanisms underlying the observed trends and at what scales these processes and mechanisms are operating (local, regional, or global). I use a variety of datasets for this research but I mainly focus on the aquatic taxa (mainly freshwater diatoms, aquatic invertebrates, and fish). However, my research is fundamentally collaborative, and I enjoy working with researchers whose model systems are not necessarily of the aquatic to ask and test basic questions. Thus, my expertise lies at the transition between basic and applied ecology, where I translate and demonstrate the applicability of fundamental theory towards the conservation of our natural resources and biodiversity.
As an astacologist, my work also aims to model the biodiversity and abundance patterns of crayfish species for the purpose of conserving this rich group of invertebrates. Much of my fisheries expertise has been inculcated using this group of organisms, and their generally poorly understood ecology makes them very suitable models for fisheries ecology and management. My work here at Michigan State University, alongside Dr. Brian Roth and Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is to understand the consequences of invasive crayfish species in our state waters as well as model and quantify the effectiveness of eradication efforts and identify potential avenues for improvement. I also collaborate with researchers at Louisiana State University and Nicholls State University to study the Louisiana crayfish fauna, which, although arguably one of the most culturally important animals in the state, are surprisingly understudied.
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