Department of Biology
Home People Faculty Branstrator
DONN K. BRANSTRATOR, Associate Professor
Donn Branstrator

B.A., 1987, Lawrence University
Ph.D., 1993, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Office: 15 SSB
Phone: 218-726-8134


Research Interests

I am a limnologist interested in the ecology of freshwater zooplankton. Themes of my research program include: 1) Invasion dynamics of the predatory cladoceran Bythotrephes longimanus, 2) Experimental evaluation of risk-release relationships for non-native species, and 3) Food-web ecology in Lake Superior. My research is currently supported by the Great Lakes Protection Fund, the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. I teach General Ecology, Lake Ecology, Plankton Biology, and Aquatic Food Webs.


Recent Publications

  • Sorensen, ML, and DK Branstrator. The North American invasive zooplanktivore Bythotrephes longimanus is less hypoxia tolerant than the native Leptodora kindtii. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, In revision.
  • Branstrator, DK, AE Beranek, ME Brown, LK Hembre, and DR Engstrom. Colonization dynamics of the invasive predatory cladoceran, Bythotrephes longimanus, inferred from sediment records. Limnology and Oceanography, In revision.
  • Krueger, BR, JP Werne, DK Branstrator, TR Hrabik, Y Chikaraishi, N Ohkouchi, and EC Minor. 2016. Organic matter transfer in Lake Superior’s food web: Insights from bulk and molecular stable isotope and radiocarbon analyses. Limnology and Oceanography 61:149-164.
  • Branstrator, DK, KL Westphal, and BK King. 2015. Analysis of invertebrate resting eggs and other biota in ballast tank sediment of domestic Great Lakes cargo ships. Journal of Great Lakes Research 41:200-207.
  • Oliver, SK, DK Branstrator, TR Hrabik, SJ Guildford, and RE Hecky. 2015. Nutrient excretion by crustacean zooplankton in the deep chlorophyll layer of Lake Superior. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72:390-399.
  • Branstrator, DK, LJ Shannon, ME Brown, and MT Kitson. 2013. Effects of chemical and physical conditions on hatching success of Bythotrephes longimanus resting eggs. Limnology and Oceanography 58:2171-2184.
  • Brown, ME, DK Branstrator, and LJ Shannon. 2012. Population regulation of the spiny water flea (Bythotrephes longimanus) in a reservoir: Implications for invasion. Limnology and Oceanography 57:251-271.


Recent Graduate Students

  • Ian Harding. MS, Integrated Biosciences. “The effects of ecosystem change on cisco (Coregonus artedii) growth in Lake Superior.” In progress.
  • Matthew Pawlowski. MS, Integrated Biosciences. “Changes in the zooplankton community of Lake Superior and the implications of climate change and Bythotrephes longimanus.” Completed August 2016. Currently employed as a Research Scientist at the Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Michael Sorensen. MS, Water Resources Science. “Hypoxia tolerance of the invasive zooplankton Bythotrephes longimanus and the native zooplankton Leptodora kindtii.” Completed December 2015. Currently employed as a Program Assistant at the Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed District, Forest Lake, Minnesota.
  • Matthew TenEyck. PhD, Water Resources Science. “Defining the risk-release relationship of Daphnia magna, a non-native aquatic invasive species in the environment of Duluth-Superior Harbor.” Completed July 2015. Currently employed as Director of the Lake Superior Research Institute, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Superior, Wisconsin.
  • Ashley Beranek. MS, Integrated Biosciences. “An assessment of the long-term phenology and impact of Bythotrephes longimanus in Island Lake Reservoir, Minnesota, using sediment records.” Completed January 2012. Currently employed as a Water Resource Management Specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Samantha Oliver. MS, Integrated Biosciences. “Nutrient regeneration by the zooplankton community in the deep chlorophyll layer of Lake Superior.” Completed August 2012. Currently a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the Center for Limnology.



I currently serve as a member of the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee (MLFAC) to advise the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on fisheries management for Mille Lacs Lake.


© 2017 University of Minnesota Duluth
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 09/15/16 11:25 AM
University of Minnesota Campuses
Crookston | Duluth | Morris
Rochester | Twin Cities | Other Locations