Steve Blumenshine
Professor - Dept. of Biology
California State University-Fresno M/S SB73
Fresno, CA  93740
Phone: (559) 278-8770
E-mail: sblumens (@)
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·      Welcome to new graduate students Karen Boortz & Elli Rosenthal

·      Major Award!  Taylor Spaulding MS Thesis Wins College of Science & Mathematics ‘Best Thesis Award’ for 2015-2016

How To Survive A Drought: Modeling Juvenile Chinook Salmon In The San Joaquin River; Evidence Of Differences In Foraging Efficiency

·      Congrats on funding (Undergrads):

o   Monet Gomes: CSUF rGrant, CSU LSAMP

o   Akusha Kaur & Christian Cunningham:  CSU COAST

o   Michael Bravo & Daniel Whittingham (CSU Fresno rGrant)

·      2016 Conferences:  AFS CA/NV (Reno), CSU WRPI (Long Beach), SFS (Sacramento), SJRRP (Fresno), AFS (Kansas City), SF Bay-Delta (Sacramento)



Teaching: General Ecology, Aquatic Ecology, Case Studies in Ecology, San Joaquin River Restoration, Biometry (Grad), Data Analysis (Grad)



CV Info






Lab People:

Steve Blumenshine
Lab PI, etc…
BS Univ Wisconsin
MS George Mason
PhD Notre Dame
Post-doc U. MD

Mike Grill
(MS Student)
Chinook Salmon Egg Development

Elli Rosenthal
(MS Student)
Thesis Topic TBD

Jamie Castro
(MS Student)
Control of Precocity in Spring-Run Chinook Salmon

Thomas Gromis
(MS Student)
Environmental Variables Associated with the Distribution of Western Pearlshell Mussels

Karen Boortz

(MS Student)
SJR Floodplain Production Study

Amina Lodhi

(MS Student)

Spatial and Temporal Variation in San Joaquin River Fish Assemblages

Monet Gomes
Use of Stable Isotopes of Oxygen and Hydrogen to Trace Water in the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Emily Ramirez


The role of disturbance on San Joaquin River macroinvertebrate assemblages

Skylar Nguyen

Revision of juvenile Chinook Salmon bioenergetic parameters

Christian Cunningham
Effect of EtOH exposure on the 12C:13C stable isotope ratios of invertebrates

Matthew Cavaletto
Determining Juvenile Chinook Salmon Growth Increments from Otolith Analyses

Akusha Kaur
Variation in Juvenile Chinook Salmon Growth Rates Across Populations

Michael Bravo
 Use of stable isotope analysis to determine diet variation in juvenile Chinook Salmon; site effects

Dennis Whittingham
Use of stable isotope analysis to determine diet variation in juvenile Chinook Salmon; net pen effects

Anu Gunawardane
Field & Lab Support

Efrain Jiminez
Field & Lab Support

James King
Field & Lab Support




Research Interests:  My research objectives include asking of how factors intrinsic and extrinsic to aquatic habitats interact and influence the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems.  For example, while the transfer of material through food webs is dictated by consumer-resource interactions and/or physical dynamics within the habitat, properties extrinsic to food webs may set a template in which these interactions operate.  Landscape or watershed features coupled with hydrology can play a critical role in both the distribution of species and runoff to ecosystems, which may respectively limit potential food web configurations and productivity.  I also link basic and theoretical research to applied ecosystem management.  A positive and significant outcome of this objective would be to give some resolution to the existing mismatch of the spatial and temporal scales of research and management approaches. 

This research typically straddles the interface of inland aquatic communities and ecosystems.  Research funding is driven by the importance of understanding factors which may compromise surface water and thus aquatic communities and ecosystems.  Within this focus is an emphasis on how human impacts such as hydrological manipulation, nutrient loading, and fish management affect aquatic habitats, populations, and communities.   Recent research methodology includes analysis of large datasets, a broad range of statistical techniques, stable isotope analyses, and enough field sampling of water, habitats, and biota to keep tabs on local conditions.

  Ongoing & Recent Research Projects:

San Joaquin River Floodplain Production & Chinook Salmon Growth (US Bureau of Reclamation;  $990,357, 2013-2016;
Co-PI Joe Merz, Cramer Fish Sciences;)

Main Qs: 

What floodplain attributes best foster juvenile Chinook salmon survival and growth? 


How does water management affect this balance?


San Joaquin River Predator Study - Salmon Restoration (Fresno Regional Foundation; $23,546- 2013; US Fish & Wildlife Service; $60,000 2013-2014)


Main Qs:

How does the probability of predation mortality for juvenile Chinook salmon vary over time and space? 

Are these probabilities more influenced by hydrology, predator movements, or an interaction between the two? 

Habitat and Population Analyses of Delta and Longfin Smelt (Center for California Water Resources Policy and Management; $32,000, 2012-2014)

Main Q:

Are Longfin Smelt populations in the SF Bay-Delta resistant and resilient to variation in freshwater discharge through the system?



Recently Completed Projects

Influence of fine particulate matter composition on the distribution of macroinvertebrates in a Sierra foothill watershed  (CA Dept of Water Resources via Madera Co;
Co-PI Luke Wang, CSUF EES)


Main Q: 

How do fine sediment size distributions influence stream macroinvertebrate assemblages?


(Sediment size-frequency distributions were summarized into a single parameter using the Pareto C value, as in lower right panel)


Project:  General; use of fish bioenergetics modeling to estimate fish production & impact on prey


Main Qs:

Are fish growth rates (production) limited by energy availability or metabolism?


What is the potential for fish predators to regulate prey populations & influence food web structure? 


Environmental factors influencing the dynamics of Chinese mitten crab zoeae in the San Francisco Bay-Delta

(CA Sea Grant [to Brian Tsukimura])


Main Q:

Are the abundances of the early life-history stages of this invasive species dictated by propagules (females & eggs) or environment (e.g. cold & fresh water)?

(Figure is a regression tree of the main results)


Influence of Habitat Complexity on Brain Development in Juvenile Rainbow Trout (Collaboration w/ CA Fish & Wildlife; 2012)

This experiment was conducted by undergraduate research student Alexandra Krogman, with assistance from Katie Barman, Ryan Adams, & Greg Derosiers

Patterns and Sources of Fecal Indicator Bacteria in the San Joaquin River (Revive the San Joaquin; CSU-Fresno Associated Students and the College of Sci & Math)

San Joaquin River – Effects of River Restoration on Angling and River Recreation
(CA Fish & Game; Lead PI-Dr. Mark Somma; 2010-2012)




Assessment of the Effects of Chemical Contaminants Used in Illegal Marijuana Cultivation in California National Parks (US NPS; w/ Graduate Student Daniel Jeffcoach 2011-2012)