Research Program

I am a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, working in the Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.  My research program involves science to support the conservation and recovery of imperiled freshwater fishes in the Great Lakes basin.  Most research is conducted using a comination quantitative, field, and laboratory techniques, and the applied, multidisciplinary nature of these projects requires complementary approaches from several disciplines (community ecology, quantitative risk assessment, conservation biology, human dimensions, simulation modeling and statistics, natural resource management).

Recent work includes agent-based modeling to predict the spread of invasive fishes, modeling harvest dynamics of natural resources in freshwater systems, and predicting risky human behaviour involving invasive species.

I collaborate frequently with government (federal, provincial) and non-government (academic, industry, NGOs, other private stakeholders) partners. 

Some current collaborations include:

1) University of Alberta, Department of Renewable Resources - Habitat partitioning and dispersal kernels of fishes in urban drainages 

2) Environment Canada - Predicting and managing the human-mediated spread of Asian fish tapeworm Bothriocephalus acheilognathi (ongoing)

3) Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife - Understanding the motivation for risk-taking by natural resource users

4) Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Fisheries Section - Detection and monitoring of commercial and noncommercial species using empirical sampling 

5) Fisheries and Oceans Canada - 1) quantifying allowable harm to rare species; 2) modeling the transport of species across global geographic networks

6) Ontario Minstry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Biodiversity Section - Joining climate change and invasion risk to quantify community changes in northern ecosystems

Recent projects include:

1) The influence of habitat quality on a small, imperilled fish (Drake et al. 2008, Canadian Journal of Zoology)

2) Incorporating gravity models and transportation networks to forecast the human-mediated movement of species (Drake and Mandrak 2010, Ecological Applications)

3) Using agent-based, social-ecological models to quantify the risk of introducing invasive fishes beyond biogeographic barriers (Drake and Mandrak 2014, Ecological Applications)

4) Predicting risky behaviour and investigating human dimensions of the baitfish industry (Drake et al. 2014, Biological Invasions)

5) Quantifying assemblage composition and harvest processes to forecast the potential for bycatch in fisheries (Drake and Mandrak 2014, Fish and Fisheries)

6) The role of species abundance distributions towards species establishment in novel ecosystems (Drake et al. 2014, Journal of Limnology)

7) Ecological risk and pathway approaches for adaptive ecological management of baitfish pathways  (Drake and Mandrak 2014, Fisheries)

8) A book chapter about how invasive species will impact the ecological, social, and economic future of fisheries (Drake and Mandrak 2014, American Fisheries Society Publication).



I have been granted research funds from national, international and U.S. organizations, including:

NSERC (Graduate Scholarships, Visiting Fellowship, and doctoral support through the NSERC Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network)

NOAA (Research Grant, in collaboration with University of Virginia Tech, Maryland DNR, and the Environmental Law Institute; declined by PIs)

Great Lakes Fishery Commission (Fishery Research Grant, in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada; ongoing)

Great Lakes Fishery Trust (Human Dimensions Research, in collaboration with Michigan State University; completed)

Ontario Invading Species Centre (Research Grant, in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Oakland University, and the University of Alberta)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Doctoral and Post-doctoral research funding)




  • Ecological risk and uncertainty

  • Growth and habitat quality in urban drainages

  • Quantifying landscape-scale ecological processes

  • Modeling the spread of invasive species

  • Field sampling of aquatic ecosystems

  • Statistical capture-effort relationships