Patricia Chow-Fraser, Ph.D.

Telephone: (905) 525-9140

Office: LSB-224 Ext 27338

Lab: LSB-206 Ext 27461

Email: chowfras@mcmaster.ca

Life Sciences Program

Telephone: (905) 525-9140

Office: BSB-112 Ext 27338

Email: lsp@mcmaster.ca

Interests & Activities

Assessment of anthropogenic impacts on the functional ecology of freshwater ecosystems, in particular, lakes and wetlands of the Great Lakes basin.

I study the impact of human activities on the ecological health of aquatic ecosystems, especially coastal wetlands and tributaries of the Laurentian Great Lakes. We have developed biological indicators using organisms from various trophic levels (e.g. periphyton, zooplankton, macro-invertebrates, aquatic macrophytes and fish) as well as environmental parameters (e.g. wetland basin morphology, water quality, sediment quality) to assess the ecological status of over 150 coastal wetlands throughout the U.S. and Canadian shoreline of the Great Lakes. A Great Lakes (Geographic Information System) GIS database has also been created to determine the impact of land-use alterations and shoreline development on wetland quality.

Publications
  • Cvetkovic, M., Kostuk, K. and Chow-Fraser, P.  Influence of gear type on fish catch data and a fish-based index of wetland quality in coastal wetlands of Georgian Bay.  Am. J. Fisheries Management. (In press).
  • Midwood, J. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2012.  Changes in aquatic vegetation and fish communities following five years of sustained low water levels in coastal marshes of eastern Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. Global Change Biology (In press).
  • Thomasen, S. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2011.  Detecting changes in ecosystem quality following long-term restoration efforts in Cootes Paradise Marsh.  Ecological Indicators.  13: 82-92.
  • Smith-Cartwright, L. A. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2011. Application of the index of marsh bird community integrity to coastal wetlands of Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario, Canada.  Ecological Indicators.  11: 1482-1486.
  • DeCatanzaro, R. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2011. Effects of landscape variables and season on reference water chemistry of coastal marshes in eastern Georgian Bay.  Can. J. Fish Aquat. Sci. 68: 1009-1023. Cvetkovic, M. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2011.  Use of ecological indicators to assess the quality of Great Lakes coastal wetlands.  Ecological Indicators 11:  1609-1622.
  • Seilheimer, T.S., Wei, A. and Chow-Fraser, P.   2011.  Changes in fish communities of Lake Ontario coastal wetlands before and after Remedial Action Plans. ISRN Ecology, vol. 2011, Article ID 820529, 11 pages, 2011. doi:10.5402/2011/820529.
  • Rokitnicki-Wojcik, D., Wei, A. and Chow-Fraser, P.   2011.  Transferability of object-based rule sets for mapping coastal high marsh habitat among different regions in Georgian Bay, Canada.  Wetlands Ecol Manage.  19: 223-236.  DOI 10.1007/s11273-011-9213-7.
  • Midwood, J. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2010Regional approach to map floating and emergent aquatic vegetation in coastal wetlands of eastern Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, Canada.  Wetlands. 30:1141–1152.
  • Smith, L.A. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2010.  Implications of the species-area relationship on sampling effort and conservation priorities of wetland birds in southern Ontario.  Wetlands. 30: 553–56.
  • Smith, L. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2010.  Impact of adjacent land use and isolation on marsh bird communities.  Environmental Management.  45: 1040-1051.
  • DeCatanzaro, R. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2010Relationship of road density and marsh condition to turtle assemblage characteristics in the Laurentian Great Lakes. J. Great Lakes Research.  36:  357-365.
  • Cvetkovic, M., Wei, A. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2010.   Relative importance of macrophyte community versus water-quality variables for predicting fish assemblages in coastal wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes. J. Great Lakes Research.  36:  647-73.
  • DeCatanzaro, R., Cvetkovic, M. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2009.  The relative importance of road density and physical watershed features in determining coastal marsh water quality in Georgian Bay.  Environmental Management  44: 456-467.
  • Croft, M. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2009.  Non-random sampling and its role in habitat conservation:  a comparison of three wetland macrophyte sampling protocols.  Biodiversity and Conservation 18: 2283-2306.
  • Seilheimer, T. Mahoney, T. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2009.  Comparative study of ecological indices for assessing human-induced disturbance in coastal wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes.   Ecological Indicators.  9:  81-91.
  • Yantsis, S., Chow-Fraser, P. Li, H.O., Chang, J.S., Terui, S., Watanabe, K. and Itoh, M. 2008. Zooplankton Mortality in Lake Water Treated by Pulsed Arc Electrohydraulic Discharge Plasma. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Non-Thermal Plasma Technology for Pollution Control and Sustainable Energy Development, ISNTPT-6, Taiwan.  Vol 2 (2):  128-133.
  • Wei, A. and Chow-Fraser, P.   2008.  Testing the transferability of a marsh-inundation model across two landscapes.  Hydrobiologia.  600: 41-47. Seilheimer, T.S. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2007.  Application of the Wetland Fish Index to northern Great  Lakes marshes with an emphasis on Georgian Bay coastal wetlands.   J. Great Lakes Res.  33 (Special Issue 3):  154-171.
  • Croft, M. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2007.  Development of the Wetland Macrophyte Index to detect degree of water-quality impairment in Great Lakes coastal marshes.  J. Great Lakes Res.  33 (Special Issue 3):  172-197.
  • Seilheimer, T.S. and Wei, A., Chow-Fraser, P. and Eyles, N.  2007.  Impact of urbanization on the water quality and fish community of a Lake Ontario marsh, Frenchman’s Bay.  Urban Ecology.  10: 299-319.
  • Wei, A. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2007.  Use of IKONOS imagery to map coastal wetlands of Georgian Bay.  Fisheries 32:  167-173.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 2006. Development of the Wetland Water Quality Index for assessing the quality of  Great Lakes coastal wetlands. In Simon, T.P and Stewart, P.M. (eds) . Coastal wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes: health, habitat and indicators Chapter 5. Indiana Biological Survey, Bloomington, Indiana.  p. 137-166.
    Gillis, P., Wood, C.M., Ranville, J.F., Ross, P.E. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2006.  Bioavailability of sediment-associated Cu and Zn to D. magna. Aquat. Toxicol.  77: 402-411.
  • Seilheimer, T. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2006. Development and validation of the Wetland Fish Index to assess the quality of coastal wetlands in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 63:  354-366.
  • Wei, A., and Chow-Fraser, P. 2006. Synergistic impact of water-level fluctuation and invasion of Glyceria on Typha in a freshwater marsh of Lake Ontario. Aquatic Botany 84:  63-69.
  • Kelton, N. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2005. Predictive factors of phosphorus release rates from hypereutrophic marsh sediments: estimating internal loading in Cootes Paradise Marsh. Lakes and Reservoir Management.  21:  223-230.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. Kostuk, K., Seilheimer, T., Weimer, M., MacDougall, T. Theÿsmeÿer.  2006.  Effect of wetland quality on sampling bias associated with two fish survey methods for coastal wetlands of the lower Great Lakes.  In Simon, T.P and Stewart, P.M. (eds)  Coastal wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes: health, habitat and indicators  Chapter 10. Indiana Biological Survey, Bloomington, Indiana.  p. 233-256.
  • Wescoat, J., Chow-Fraser, P., Hartford, D., Keough, J.R., Maguire, L.A., Mackarewicz, J. Ontario-St. Lawrence River Studies.  2005.  National Academies Press.  Washington, DC.  116 pp.
  • Gillis, P.L., Chow-Fraser P., Ranville J.F., Ross P.E., and Wood, C.M.  2005. Daphnia need to be gut cleared too: The effect of exposure to and ingestion of metal-contaminated sediment on the gut clearance patterns in D. magna.  Aquatic Toxicology 71: 143-154. Chow-Fraser, P. 2005. Ecosystem response to changes in water level of Lake Ontario marshes: lessons from the restoration of Cootes Paradise Marsh. Hydrobiologia. 539:189–204.
  • Wei, A., and Chow-Fraser, P. 2005. Untangling the confounding effects of urbanization and high water level on the cover of emergent vegetation in Cootes Paradise Marsh, a degraded coastal wetland of Lake Ontario. Hydrobiologia  544: 1-9.
  • Wei, A., P. Chow-Fraser, and D. Albert. 2004.   Influence of shoreline features on fish distribution in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 61: 1113-1123.
  • Kelton, N., Chow-Fraser, P., Jordan, I.  2004. Relationship between sediment phosphorus release rates and characteristics of the benthic microbial community in a hypereutrophic marsh.  J. Aquat. Ecosyst. Health and Management.  7:  31-41.
  • Lougheed, V.L., Theÿsmeÿer, T., Smith, T. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2004.  Carp exclusion, food-web interactions, and the restoration of Cootes Paradise Marsh. J. Great Lakes Res.  30 (1): 44-57. Eyles, N., Doughty, M., Boyce, J.I., Meriano, M. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2003.  Geophysical and sedimnentological assessment of urban impacts in a Lake Ontario watershed and lagoon:  Frenchman’s Bay, Pickering, Ontario.  Geoscience Canada.  30:  115-128.
  • Angeler, D.G., Chow-Fraser, P., Hanson, M.A., Sanchez-Carillo, S.   2003.  Biomnipulation:  a useful tool for freshwater wetland mitigation?  Freshwater Biology 48:  2203-2213.
  • McNair, S.A. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2003. Change in biomass of benthic and planktonic algae along a disturbance gradient for 24 Great Lakes coastal wetlands.  Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.  60:  676-689.
  • Lougheed, V.L. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2002. Development and use of a zooplankton index to monitor wetland quality in the Laurentian Great Lakes basin. Ecological Applications. 12(2):474-486.
  • Lougheed, V.L., Crosbie, B. and Chow-Fraser, P.  2001.  Primary determinants of macrophyte community structure in 62 marshes across the Great Lakes basin. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci  58: 1603-1612. Lougheed, V.L., and Chow-Fraser, P.   2001.  Spatial variability in the response of lower trophic levels after carp exclusion from a freshwater marsh.  J. Aquat. Ecosyst. Stress Recov. 9: 21-34.
  • Crosbie, B. and Chow-Fraser, P.  1999.   Percent land use in the watershed determines the water- and sediment-quality of 21 wetlands in the Great Lakes basin.  Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.  56: 1781-1791.
  • Kirkwood, A., P. Chow-Fraser and G. Mierle.  1999.  Seasonal mercury levels in phytoplankton and their relationship with algal biomass in two dystrophic Shield lakes.  Env. Tox. Chem.  18:  523-532.
  • Chow-Fraser, P.  1999.  Seasonal, interannual and spatial variability in the concentrations of total suspended solids in a degraded coastal wetland of L. Ontario.  J. Great Lakes Res.  25: 799-813.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and Albert, D.  1999.  Identification of Eco-Reaches of Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands that have high biodiversity values.   Discussion paper for SOLEC ’98.  Env Canada-USEPA Publication, 88 pp.+ appendices
  • Chow-Fraser, P.  1998.  A conceptual ecological model to aid restoration of Cootes Paradise Marsh, a degraded coastal wetland of L. Ontario, Canada.  Wetland Ecol. Manage.  6: 43-57.
  • Chow-Fraser, P., Lougheed, V.L., Crosbie, B., LeThiec, V., Simser, L., and Lord, J.  1998.  Long-term response of the biotic community to fluctuating water levels and changes in water quality in Cootes Paradise Marsh, a degraded coastal wetland of L. Ontario.  Wetland Ecol. Manage.  6: 19-42.
  • Lougheed, V.L., B. Crosbie and P. Chow-Fraser.  1998.  Predictions on the effect of carp exclusion on water quality, zooplankton and submergent macropytes in a Great Lakes wetland.   Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55: 1189-1197.
  • Lougheed, V.L. and P. Chow-Fraser.   1998.  Factors that regulate the community structure of a turbid, hypereutrophic Great Lakes wetland.  Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55: 150-161.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. , B. Crosbie, D. Bryant and B. McCarry.   1996.  Potential contribution of nutrients and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the creeks of Cootes Paradise Marsh.  Water Qual. Res. Journal Can.   31(3):  485-503.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and L. Lukasik.  1995.   Cootes Paradise Marsh:  community participation in the restoration of a Great Lakes coastal wetland.  Restoration and Management Notes.  13(2):  183-189.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 2005. Development of the Wetland Water Quality Index to assess basin-wide land-use alteration in Great Lakes coastal wetlands. In: “Coastal Wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes: Health, Habitat and Indicators” Eds Simon, T.P., Stewart, P.M., Munawar, M. and Edsall, T.A. (In press)
  • Chow-Fraser, P. Kostuk, K., Seilheimer, T., Weimer, M., MacDougall, T. Theÿsmeÿer. 2005. Effect of wetland quality on sampling bias associated with two fish survey methods for coastal wetlands of the lower Great Lakes. In: “Coastal Wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes: Health, Habitat and Indicators” Eds Simon, T.P., Stewart, P.M., Munawar, M. and Edsall, T.A. (In press).
  • Wei, A. and Chow-Fraser, P. Untangling the confounding effects of urbanization and high water level on the cover of emergent vegetation in Cootes Paradise Marsh, a degraded coastal wetland of Lake Ontario. Hydrobiologia (In press).
  • Kelton, N. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2005. A simplified assessment of factors controlling phosphorus loading from oxygenated sediments in a very shallow eutrophic lake. Lakes and Reservoir Management. (In press).
  • Gillis, P.L., Chow-Fraser, P., Ranville J.F., Ross P.E., and Wood, C.M. 2004. Daphnia need to be gut cleared too: The effect of exposure to and ingestion of metal-contaminated sediment on the gut clearance patterns in D. magna. Submitted to Aquatic Toxicology (In press).
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 2004. Ecosystem response to changes in water level of Lake Ontario marshes: lessons from the restoration of Cootes Paradise Marsh. Hydrobiologia. (In press).
  • Wei, A., Chow-Fraser, P., Albert, D. 2004. Influence of shoreline features on fish distribution in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 61: 1113-1123.
  • Kelton, N., Chow-Fraser, P., Jordan, I. 2004. Relationship between sediment phosphorus release rates and characteristics of the benthic microbial community in a hypereutrophic marsh. J. Aquat. Ecosyst. Health and Management. 7: 31-41.
  • Lougheed, V.L., Theÿsmeÿer, T., Smith, T. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2004. Carp exclusion, food-web interactions, and the restoration of Cootes Paradise Marsh. J. Great Lakes Res. 30 (1): 44-57.
  • Eyles, N., Doughty, M., Boyce, J.I., Meriano, M. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2003. Geophysical and sedimnentological assessment of urban impacts in a Lake Ontario watershed and lagoon: Frenchman’s Bay, Pickering, Ontario. Geoscience Canada. 30: 115-128.
  • Angeler, D.G., Chow-Fraser, P., Hanson, M.A., Sanchez-Carillo, S. 2003. Biomnipulation: a useful tool for freshwater wetland mitigation? Freshwater Biology 48: 2203-2213.
  • McNair, S.A. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2003. Change in biomass of benthic and planktonic algae along a disturbance gradient for 24 Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 60: 676-689.
  • Lougheed, V.L. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2002. Development and use of a zooplankton index to monitor wetland quality in Canadian marshes of the Great Lakes basin. Ecological Applications 12 (2): 474-486.
  • Lougheed, V.L., and Chow-Fraser, P. 2001. Spatial variability in the response of lower trophic levels after carp exclusion from a freshwater marsh. J. Aquat. Ecosyst. Stress Recov. 9: 21-34.
  • Lougheed, V.L., Crosbie, B. and Chow-Fraser, P. 2001. Primary determinants of macrophyte community structure in 62 marshes across the Great Lakes basin. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci 58: 1603-1612.
  • Crosbie, B. and Chow-Fraser, P.. 1999. Percent land use in the watershed determines the water- and sediment-quality of 21 wetlands in the Great Lakes basin. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 56: 1781-1791.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 1999. Seasonal, interannual and spatial variability in the concentrations of total suspended solids in a degraded coastal wetland of L. Ontario. J. Great Lakes Res. 25: 799-813.
  • Chow-Fraser, P., Lougheed, V.L., Crosbie, B., LeThiec, V., Simser, L., and Lord, J. 1998. Long-term response of the biotic community to fluctuating water levels and changes in water quality in Cootes Paradise Marsh, a degraded coastal wetland of L. Ontario. Wetland Ecol. Manage. 6: 19-42.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 1998. A conceptual ecological model to aid restoration of Cootes Paradise Marsh, a degraded coastal wetland of L. Ontario, Canada. Wetland Ecol. Manage. 6: 43-57.
  • Kirkwood, A., P. Chow-Fraser and G. Mierle. 1999. Seasonal mercury levels in phytoplankton and their relationship with algal biomass in two dystrophic Shield lakes. Env. Tox. Chem. 18: 523-532.
  • Lougheed, V.L., B. Crosbie and P. Chow-Fraser. 1998. Predictions on the effect of carp exclusion on water quality, zooplankton and submergent macropytes in a Great Lakes wetland. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55: 1189-1197.
  • Lougheed, V.L. and P. Chow-Fraser. 1998. Factors that regulate the community structure of a turbid, hypereutrophic Great Lakes wetland. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55: 150-161.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and Albert, D. 1999. Identification of Eco-Reaches of Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands that have high biodiversity values. Discussion paper for SOLEC ’98. Env Canada-USEPA Publication, 88 pp.+ appendices
  • Chow-Fraser, P. , B. Crosbie, D. Bryant and B. McCarry. 1996. Potential contribution of nutrients and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the creeks of Cootes Paradise Marsh. Water Qual. Res. Journal Can. 31(3): 485-503
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and L. Lukasik. 1995. Cootes Paradise Marsh: community participation in the restoration of a Great Lakes coastal wetland. Restoration and Management Notes. 13(2): 183-189.
  • Campbell, L. and P. Chow-Fraser. 1995. Differential effects of chemical preservatives and freezing on the length and dry weight of Daphnia and Diaptomus in an oligotrophic lake. Archiv. Hydrobiol. 134: 255-269.
  • Chow-Fraser, P., D.O. Trew, D. Findlay and M. Stainton. 1994. A test of hypotheses to explain the sigmoidal relationship between total phosphorus and chlorophyll a concentration in Canadian lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 51: 2052-2065.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and W.G. Sprules. 1992. Type-3 functional response in limnetic suspension-feeders as demonstrated by in situ grazing rates. Hydrobiologia 232: 175-192.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and E. J. Maly. 1992. Co-existence of two freshwater copepods in lakes through size divergence and diet partitioning. Can. J. Zool. 70: 1016-1028.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and E.J. Maly. 1991. Factors governing clutch size in two speceis of Diaptomus (Copepoda: Calanoida). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 48: 364-370.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 1991. Use of the morphoedaphic index to predict nutrient status and algal biomass in some Canadian lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 48: 1909-1918.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and E.J. Maly. 1988. Aspects of mating, reproduction and co-occurrence in three freshwater calanoid copepods. Freshwater Biology 19: 95-108.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and H.C. Duthie. 1987. Response of the phytoplankton community to weekly additions of monoammonium phosphate. Archiv. Hydrobiol. 110(1): 67-82.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and W.G. Sprules. 1986. Inhibitory effect of Anabaena sp. on in situ filtering rate of Daphnia. Can. J. Zool. 64: 1831-1834.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 1986c. The effect of handling and acclimation period on the grazing rate of Daphnia and Diaptomus. Hydrobiologia 137: 203-210.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 1986b. Dietary change during development in the freshwater calanoid copepod Epischura lacustris Forbes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 43: 938-944.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. 1986a. An empirical model to predict in situ grazing rate ofDiaptomus minutus Lilljeborg on small algal particles. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 43: 1065-1070.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and R. Knoechel. 1985. Factors regulating in situ filtering rates of Cladocera. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 42: 567-576.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and C.K. Wong. 1985. Herbivorous feeding of three large calanoid copepods. Verh. Internat. ver. Limnol. 22: 3195-3198.
  • Wong, C.K. and P. Chow-Fraser. 1985. The food of three large freshwater calanoid copepods. Verh. Internat. ver. Limnol. 22: 3190-3194.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and H.C. Duthie. 1983b. An interpretation of phosphorus loadings in dystrophic lakes. Arch. Hydrobiol. 97: 109-121.
  • Chow-Fraser, P. and H.C. Duthie. 1983a. Assessment of phosphorus limitation in an oligotrophic lake using radiophosphorus uptake kinetics. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. 40: 817-821.
Research

Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Despite their great ecological value, many of the large wetland complexes in settled areas of the Laurentian Great Lakes basin have been either lost due to draining, dredging or filling, or have been severely degraded because of their sensitivity to altered land uses (agricultural and urban development) and to invasion by exotic species.

My research program explores the reasons for wetland degradation and seeks ways to restore their ecological functions. I have been associated with various restoration projects, the largest of which is the biomanipulation of Cootes Paradise Marsh, a large urban wetland located near the McMaster University campus; it involved the use of carp exclusion and an extensive water-quality monitoring program to guide the restoration. I also initiated a pilot planting program involving community volunteers (including children from local schools) to help revegetate portions of the marsh. More recently, I have conducted a basin-wide survey of over 150 coastal wetlands throughout both the Canadian and U.S. shoreline of the Great Lakes.

My students and I have developed environmental indices of wetland quality that can be used to assess the ecological status of coastal wetlands, and to track changes in these ecosystems following remedial actions or changes in environmental conditions (reduced or increased water-level and eutrophication). We are now applying these indices to assess the quality of wetlands in Georgian Bay and the North Channel of Lake Huron, which are two areas of the Canadian shoreline that are being threatened by reduced water levels (associated with global climate change) and recreational development (Seewww.greatlakeswetlands.ca ).