Department of Biology
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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

Office Hours: Tuesday 10 - 12 p.m. and by appointment

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 in North America, 2) Experimental evaluation of risk-release relationships for non-native species, and 3) Patterns of nutrient and energy flow in the Lake Superior food web. My research program is currently supported by Minnesota Sea Grant, the Great Lake Protection Fund, and the University of Minnesota Duluth. I teach General Ecology, Lake Ecology, Plankton Biology, and Aquatic Food Webs.


Recent Publications

  • 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.
  • Brown, ME, and DK Branstrator. 2011. Patterns in the abundance, phenology, and hatching of the resting egg stage of the invasive zooplankter Bythotrephes longimanus: Implications for establishment. Biological Invasions 13:2547-2559.


Current Graduate Students

  • Matthew Pawlowski. MS student, Integrated Biosciences. ‘Evaluating changes in zooplankton and energy flow in Lake Superior in response to Bythotrephes invasion and climate.’
  • Michael Sorensen. MS student, Water Resources Science. ‘Evaluating hypoxia tolerance in cladoceran zooplankton.’
  • Matt TenEyck. PhD candidate, Water Resources Science. ‘Evaluating the risk-release relationship and International Maritime Organization standards for ballast water treatment systems using a surrogate cladoceran invader.’



I currently serve as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Integrated Biosciences Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota. The program has about 70 faculty and 60 graduate students (MS and PhD) and spans the UMD and Twin Cities campuses. Core courses in the program are designed around broad biological themes (life cycles, energy flow, natural selection) that provide a common language for integration and serve as foundation to all biological research questions.


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Last modified on 04/07/15 12:04 PM
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