Zimmer Lab: Aquatic Ecology Research

August 23, 2017 / By: Kyle D. Zimmer, PH.D.


Professional Interests

Aquatic ecology, focused on:

  • Biotic and abiotic factors responsible for the structure of aquatic food webs.
  • Biogeochemistry of aquatic ecosystems.
  • Community and ecosystem ecology of shallow lakes and wetlands.
  • Role of food-web interactions in the alternative stable state model for shallow lakes. 
  • Biotic influences on species diversity in aquatic ecosystems.


Current Projects

  • 2013-2016. Sustaining lakes in a changing environment (SLICE): Phase 2.  Funded by the Minnesota LCCMR. Collaborative research with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division.
  • 2012-2015. Morphometry and trophic ecology of ciscoes in Minnesota lakes. Collaborative research with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division. 


 Other Recent Projects

  • 2009-2013. Collaborative Research (RUI): Burial of organic carbon in temperate, shallow lakes.  Funded by the National Science Foundation.  Collaborative research with the University of Minnesota and the St. Croix Watershed Research Station. 
  • 2010-2013.  Quantifying Carbon Burial in Healthy Minnesota Wetlands. Funded by the Minnesota LCCMR. Collaborative research with the University of Minnesota.
  • 2010-2012.  Developing Sustainable and Cost-Effective Approaches to Conservation and Management of Shallow Lakes in Minnesota.  Funded by the Minnesota LCCMR.  Collaborative research with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries and Wildlife divisions. 
  Sarah McNamara in boat




Publications & Presentations (undergraduates underlined)

  • Hanson, M.A., B.R. Herwig, K.D. Zimmer, and N. Hansel-Welch.  2017.  Rehabilitation of shallow lakes: time to adjust expectations? Hydrobiologia 787:45-59
  • MJ Vanni, PB McIntyre, D Allen, DL Arnott, JP Benstead, DJ Berg, Å Brabrand, S Brosse, PA Bukaveckas, A Caliman, KA Capps, LS Carneiro, NE Chadwick, AD Christian, A Clarke, JD Conroy, WF Cross, DA Culver, CM Dalton, JA Devine, LM Domine, MA Evans-White, B Faafeng, AS Flecker, KB Gido, C Godinot, RD Guariento, S Haertel-Borer, RO Hall, R Henry, BR Herwig, BJ Hicks, KA Higgins, JM Hood, ME Hopton, T Ikeda, WF James, HM Jansen, CR Johnson, BJ Koch, GA Lamberti, S Lessard-Pilon, JC Maerz, ME Mather, RA McManamay, JR Milanovich, DKJ Morgan, JM Moslemi, R Naddafi, J Petter Nilssen, M Pagano, A Pilati, DM Post, M Roopin, AT Rugenski, MH Schaus, J Shostell, GE Small, CT Solomon, SC Sterrett, Ø Strand, M Tarvainen, JM Taylor, LE Torres-Gerald, CB Turner, J Urabe, SI Uye, AM Ventelä, S Villéger, MR Whiles, FM Wilhelm, HF Wilson, MA Xenopoulos, KD Zimmer. 2017. A global database of nitrogen and phosphorus excretion rates of aquatic animals. Ecology 98(5): 1475.
  • Ramstack Hobbs, J.M., W.O. Hobbs, M.B. Edlund, N. Hoidal, K.M. Theissen, K.D. Zimmer, L. Domine, M.A. Hanson, B.R. Herwig, and J.B. Cotner. 2016. The legacy of large regime shifts in shallow lakes. Ecological Applications DOI: 10.1002/eap.1382
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.A. Hanson, and D.A. Wrubleski. 2016. Invertebrates in permanent wetlands (long-hydroperiod marshes and shallow lakes. In D. Batzer and D. Boix (eds.). Invertebrates in Freshwater Wetlands: An International Perspective on their Ecology. Springer.  
  • Zimmer, K.D., W.O. Hobbs, L.M. Domine, B.R. Herwig, M.A. Hanson, and J.B. Cotner. 2016. Uniform carbon fluxes in shallow lakes in alternative stable states. Limnology and Oceanography 61:330–340.
  • Hanson, M.A., C.A. Buelt, K.D. Zimmer, B.R. Herwig, S. Bowe, and K.M. Maurer. 2015. Community correspondence among aquatic invertebrates, fish, and submerged aquatic plants in shallow lakes. Freshwater Science 34: 953–964.
  • Nolby, L.E., K.D. Zimmer, M.A. Hanson, and B.R. Herwig. 2015. Is the island biogeography model a poor predictor of biodiversity patterns in shallow lakes?  Freshwater Biology 60:870-880.
  • Gorman, M.W., K.D. Zimmer, B.R. Herwig, M.A. Hanson, R.G. Wright, S.R. Vaughn, and J.A. Younk. 2014. Phosphorus, fish biomass, and watersheds as drivers of phytoplankton abundance inshallow lakes. Science of the Total Environment 466–467:849–855.
  • Hobbs, W.O., K.M. Theissen, S.M. Hagen, C.W. Bruchu, B.C. Czeck, J.M. Ramstack Hobbs, K.D. Zimmer. 2014. The successful preservation of a healthy shallow lake ecosystem through landscape controls: the role of protected areas and stable aquatic food webs. Journal of Paleolimnology 51:405-420.
  • Hobbs, W.O., D.R. Engstrom, S.P. Scottler, K.D. Zimmer, and J.B. Cotner. 2013. Estimating modern carbon burial rates in lakes using a single sediment sample.  Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 11:316-326.  
  • Herwig, B.R., L.W. Schroeder, K.D. Zimmer, M.A. Hanson, D.F. Staples, R.W. Wright, and J.A. Younk.  2013. Fish influences on amphibian presence and abundance in prairie and parkland landscapes of Minnesota, U.S.A. Journal of Herpetology 47:489–497.
  • Hanson, M.A. B.R. Herwig, K.D. Zimmer, J. Fieberg, S.R. Vaughn, R.G. Wright, and J.A. Younk. 2012. Comparing effects of lake- and watershed-scale influences on communities of aquatic invertebrates in shallow lakes. PLoS ONE 7: e44644. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044644.
  • Hobbs, W.O., J.M.R. Hobbs, T. LaFrancois, K.D. Zimmer, K.M. Theissen, Mark B. Edlund, N. Michelutti, M.G. Butler, M.A. Hanson, and T.J. Carlson.  2012. A 200-year perspective on alternative stable state theory and lake management from a biomanipulated shallow lake. Ecological Applications 22:1483–1496.
  • Theissen, K.M., J.B.Cotner, L.M. Domine, W.O. Hobbs, S. Sugita, and K.D. Zimmer.  2012. The altered ecology of Lake Christina: A record of regime shifts, land use change, and lake management from a temperate shallow lake. Science of the Total Environment 433:336–346.  
  • Friederichs, S.J., K.D. Zimmer, B.R. Herwig, M.A. Hanson, and J.R. Fieberg. 2011. Total phosphorus and piscivore mass as drivers of food web characteristics in shallow lakes. Oikos 120:756–765.
  • Herwig, B.R., K.D. Zimmer, M.A. Hanson, M.L. Konsti, J.A. Younk, R.W. Wright, S.R. Vaughn, and M.D. Haustein. 2010.  Factors Influencing Fish Distributions in Shallow Lakes in Prairie and Prairie-Parkland Regions of Minnesota, USA. Wetlands 30:600-619.
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.A. Hanson, B.R. Herwig, and M.L. Konsti. 2009. Thresholds and stability of alternative regimes in shallow prairie-parkland lakes of central North America. Ecosystems 12:843-852.  
  • Potthoff, A.J., B.R. Herwig, M.A. Hanson, K.D. Zimmer, M.G. Butler, J.R. Reed, B.G. Parson, M.C. Ward, and D.W. Willis. 2008. Cascading food web effects of piscivore introductions in shallow lakes. Journal of Applied Ecology 45:1170-1179.
  • Verant, M.L., M.L. Konsti, K.D. Zimmer, andC.A. Deans. 2007. Factors influencing nitrogen and phosphorus excretion rates by fish in a shallow lake. Freshwater Biology 52:1968-1981.
  • Herwig, B.R., and K.D. Zimmer.  2007. Population dynamics and prey consumption by fathead minnows in prairie wetlands: importance of detritus and larval fish. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 16:282-294.
  • Hood J.M., S. Brovold, R.W. Sterner,  M. Villar-Argaiz, K.D. Zimmer. 2006. Near infrared spectrophotometry (NIRS) for the analysis of seston carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus from diverse sources. Limnology and Oceanography Methods4:96-104.
  • Scheffer, M., G.J. van Geest, K.D. Zimmer, E. Jeppesen, M.G. Butler, M.A. Hanson, M. Søndergaard, S. Declerck, and L. De Meester. 2006. Small habitat size and isolation can promote species richness: second-order effects on biodiversity in shallow lakes and ponds. Oikos 112:227-231.
  • Zimmer, K.D., B.H. Herwig, and L.M. Laurich. 2006. Nutrient excretion by fish in wetland ecosystems          and its potential to support algal production.Limnology and Oceanography 51:197-207.      
  • Hanson, M.A., K.D. Zimmer, M.G. Butler, B.A. Tangen, B.H. Herwig, and N.H. Euliss. 2005. Biotic              interactions as determinants of ecosystem structure in prairie wetlands: an example using fish.        Wetlands 25:764-775.
  • Angeler, D.G., P. Chow-Fraser, M.A. Hanson, S. Sánchez-Carillo, and K.D. Zimmer. 2003. Biomanipulation: a useful tool for freshwater wetland mitigation? Freshwater Biology 48:2203-2213.
  • Laurich, L.M., K.D. Zimmer, M.G. Butler, and M.A. Hanson. 2003. Selectivity for zooplankton prey by fathead minnows and brook sticklebacks. Wetlands 23:416-422.
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.A. Hanson, and M.G. Butler. 2003. Interspecies relationships, community structure, and factors influencing the abundance of submerged macrophytes in prairie wetlands. Wetlands:717-728.         
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.A. Hanson, and M.G. Butler. 2003. Relationships among nutrients, phytoplankton, macrophytes, and fish in prairie wetlands. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 60:721-730.
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.A. Hanson, and M.G. Butler. 2002. Effects of fathead minnows and restoration on prairie wetland ecosystems. Freshwater Biology 47:2071-2086.
  • Melaas, C.L., K.D. Zimmer,M.G. Butler, and M.A. Hanson. 2001. Effects of rotenone on aquatic invertebrate communities in prairie wetlands. Hydrobiologia 459:177-186.
  • Muscha, M.J., K.D. Zimmer, M.G. Butler, and M.A. Hanson. 2001. A comparison of horizontally and vertically deployed aquatic invertebrate activity traps.Wetlands 21:301-307.
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.A. Hanson, M.G. Butler, and W.G. Duffy. 2001. Size distributions of aquatic invertebrates in two prairie wetlands, with and without fish, with implications for community production. Freshwater Biology 46:1373-1386.
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.A. Hanson, and M.G. Butler. 2001. Effects of fathead minnow colonization and removal on a prairie wetland ecosystem. Ecosystems 4:346-357.
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.G. Butler, M.A. Hanson, and W.G. Duffy. 2001. Influences of fathead minnows and aquatic macrophytes on nutrient partitioning and ecosystem structure in two prairie wetlands. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 150:411-433.
  • Hanson, M.A., C.C. Roy, N.H. Euliss, K.D. Zimmer, M.R. Riggs, and M.G. Butler. 2000. A surface-associated activity trap for capturing water-surface and aquatic invertebrates in wetlands. Wetlands 20:205-212.
  • Zimmer, K.D., M.A. Hanson, and M.G. Butler. 2000. Factors influencing invertebrate communities in prairie wetlands: a multivariate approach. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57:76-85.
  • Noraker, T.D., K.D. Zimmer, M.G. Butler, and M.A. Hanson. 1999. Dispersion and distribution of marked fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) in prairie wetlands. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 14:287-292.
  • Wang, L.I., K.D. Zimmer, P.A. Diedrich, and S.F. Williams. 1996. The two-story rainbow trout fishery and its effect on the zooplankton community in a Minnesota lake. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 11:67-80.



Current Student Researchers

  • Ryan Grow
  • Meg Thompson
  • Angela Tipp
  • Ryan Trapp

‌‌Previous Student Researchers

  • Mikkel Haugen
  • Adam Johannsen
  • Kristine Maurer
  • Dustin Potter
  • Heidi Telste
  • Patti Gamboni
  • Luke Schroeder
  • Matt Gorman
  • Sam Friederichs
  • Rian Cleary
  • Sarah Derr
  • Krista Damme
  • John Balk
  • Mitch Haustein
  • Melissa Konsti
  • MattGorman
  • Patti Gamboni
  • Michelle Verant
  • Luke Schroeder
  • Elisabeth McHale
  • Dustin Potter
  • Jordan Goetting
  • Charles Bruchu
  • Vincent Floeder
  • Ann Goding
  • Dan Probst
  • Luke Ginger
  • Luke Nolby
  • Tom Langer
  • Adam Johannsen
  • Rachel Rockwell
  • Ariel Gittens  
  • Rachel Sweet
  • Sarah McNamara

Previous Postdocs

  • Leah Domine
  • Will Hobbs
  • Adam Kay
meg thompson analyzing data