Josef Ackerman

Dr. Ackerman
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x58268
SSC 2468
SSC 2407/2408

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Research TopicsPhysical Ecology (biofluid mechanics, ecohydrology), Limnology (lakes, rivers), Marine Science (coastal), Benthic Ecology (macrophytes, bivalves), Trophic Dynamics (photosynthesis, suspension feeding), Reproduction (abiotic pollination, broadcast spawning), Conservation (unionid mussels)

I received my MA under the late Akira Okubo at SUNY Stony Brook, where I examined the hydrodynamics of eelgrass canopies (Zostera marina), before moving to Cornell University where I studied the biomechanics of submarine pollination in eelgrass for my PhD under Karl Niklas. This was followed by a postdoc/research associate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto (and partly at the Royal Ontario Museum) where I examined the biomechanics of zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis) adhesive, suspension feeding and benthic-pelagic coupling.

As a founding faculty member and Canada Research Chair in Physical Ecology and Aquatic Science at UNBC, I examine suspension feeding in blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus and M. californianus), hydraulic habitats of stream organisms, pheromone dispersion, kelp holdfast mechanics, and particle capture in plant-like collectors.

Much of my current research at Guelph involves the physical ecology of unionid bivalves and their early life history and conservation, the physical ecology of macrophytes (algae and aquatic plants), mechanisms of abiotic pollination, and benthic-pelagic coupling in lakes.

I am an Associate Editor of Limnology and Oceanograph, Associate Editor of Aquatic Sciences, and Wiley's Encyclopedia of Water.  I am Editor in Chief of Limnology & Oceanography: Fluids and Environments. I am a member of a number of scientific societies including: AGU, ASLO, AIBS, BES, BSA, CERF, IAGLR, NABS, SCL, SMB, and TOS.

  • B.Sc. - University of Toronto - 1982
  • M.Sc. - SUNY at Stony Brook - 1985
  • Ph.D. - Cornell University - 1989

Physical Ecology and Aquatic Sciences

(Marine and Freshwater Biology)

  1. Nutrient and trophic dynamics in benthic producers and consumers: Hydrodynamics and mass transport.
    • Nutrient Uptake by aquatic plants
    • Suspension feeding by freshwater and marine mussels
  2. The physical ecology of reproduction, dispersal, and early life history.
    • Mechanisms of wind pollination and particle capture in general
    • Dispersion of mussel gametes, larvae and juveniles in lakes and rivers
    • Determination of hydraulic habitats of juvenile mussels
  3. Conservation and Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems.
    • Identification of host fish and rearing juveniles of endangered unionid mussel. 
    • Determination of the role of benthic processes in hypoxia of lakes.

Some of long-term interests include the convergent evolution of morphological structures and processes, the manner by which organisms have adapted to their physical environment, and fluid dynamic aspects of mass transfer through ecosystems. I have been fortunate to ask many of these questions within an applied context related to industrial ecology, fisheries, forestry, and conservation. I continue to be interested in exploring the ecology of marine and freshwater plants (and algae) and benthic invertebrates.

Most of my research is undertaken in the Physical Ecology Laboratory, Hagen Aqualab and in the field in locations that include southwestern Ontario rivers, Lake Erie, Vancouver Island (Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre), and the Rocky Mountains.

  • Tran, K. and J.D. Ackerman. 2019. Mussels partition resources from natural waters under flowing conditions. Science of the Total Environment  696: 133870.
  • Tuttle-Raycraft, S., and J.D. Ackerman. 2019. Living the high turbidity life: The efects of TSS, flow and gill morhology on mussel feeding. Limnology and Oceanography ##: #### - ####.
  • Jabbari, A. J.D. Ackerman, L. Boegman, and Y. Zhao. 2019. Episodic hypoxia in the western basin of Lake Erie. Limnology and Oceanography 64: 2220–2236
  • Mistry, R. and J.D. Ackerman. 2018. Flow, flux and feeding in freshwater mussels. Water Resources Research 54.
  • Tuttle-Raycraft, S., and J.D. Ackerman. 2018. Does size matter? Particle size vs. quality in bivalve suspension feeding. Freshwater Biology DOI: 10.1111/fwb.13184.
  • McCombe, D. and J.D. Ackerman. 2018. Collector Motion Affects Particle Capture in Physical Models and in Wind Pollination. The American Naturalist 192:81-93 + 3 suppl.
  • Tuttle-Raycraft, S., T.J. Morris and J.D. Ackerman.  2017. Suspended solid concentration reduces feeding in freshwater mussels. Science of the Total Environment 598: 1160–1168.
  • Nishizaki, M.T. and J.D. Ackerman. 2017. Mussels blow rings: Jet behavior affects local mixing. Limnology and Oceanography 62:125–136.
  • Mistry, R. and J.D. Ackerman. 2016. Algal flux affects the clearance rates of recently metamorphosed freshwater mussels. Aquatic Sciences 79:139–148
  • Tremblay, M.E., T. Morris, and J.D. Ackerman. 2016. Loss of reproductive output caused by an invasive species. Royal Society Open Science 3: 150481.
  • Gazendam,E., B. Gharabaghi, J.D. Ackerman, and H. Whitely.  2016. Integrative neural networks models for stream assessment in restoration projects. Journal of Hydrology 536: 339–350.
  • Tremblay, M.E.M., T.J. Morris, and J.D. Ackerman. 2015.  A multivariate approach to the identification of unionid glochidia with emphasis on Species at Risk in Southern Ontario. Canadian Manuscript Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 3057: vii + 52 p.
  • Quinn, N.P. and J.D. Ackerman. 2015. The effect of bottom roughness on scalar transport in aquatic ecosystems: Implications for reproduction and recruitment in the benthos. Journal of Theoretical Biology 369:59-66.
  • Krick, J., and J.D. Ackerman. 2015. Adding ecology to particle capture models: Numerical simulations of capture on a moving cylinder in crossflow. Journal of Theoretical Biology 368:13-26.
  • Timerman,D., D. F. Greene, J. Urzay and J.D. Ackerman. 2014. Turbulence-induced resonance vibrations cause pollen release in Plantago lanceolata L. (Plantaginaceae). Journal of the Royal Society Interface 11: 20140866.
  • Timerman, D., D.F. Greene, J.D. Ackerman, E. Nardone, and P.G. Kevan. 2014. Pollen aggregation in relation to pollination vector. International Journal of Plant Sciences 175:681-687.
  • Bouffard, D., L. Boegman, J.D. Ackerman, R. Valipoura, and Y.R. Rao. 2014. Near-inertial wave driven dissolved oxygen transfer through the thermocline of a large lake. Journal of Great Lakes Research  40: 300-307.
  • Vanden Byllaardt, J. and J.D. Ackerman. 2014. Hydrodynamic habitat influences suspension feeding by unionid mussels in freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater Biology. 59: 1187-1196.
  • French, S.K. and J.D. Ackerman. 2014. Responses of newly settled juvenile mussels to bed shear stress: Implications for dispersal. Freshwater Science 33(1):46-55.
  • Quinn, N.P. and J.D. Ackerman. 2014. Effects of near-bed turbulence on the suspension and settlement of freshwater dreissenid mussel larvae. Freshwater Biology 59: 614–629.
  • Ackerman, J.D. 2014. Role of fluid dynamics in dreissenid mussel biology. pp 471-483 in T.F. Nalepa and D.W. Schloesser (eds). Quagga and Zebra Mussels: Biology, Impact, and Control.  Second Edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 775 pp.

         Current Students

  • Chris Farrow (PhD candidate)
  • Julian Lum (MSc candidate)
  • Emile Sabeti-Mehr (MSc candidate)
  • Kirsten Luck (MSc candidate)
  • Luc Goulet (MSc candidate)
  • Stephanie Smodis (MSc candidate)

Recent Grads

  • Victor Fund MSc (2018)
  • Shaylah Tuttle-Raycraft PhD (2018)
  • Christopher Farrow, MSc (2018)
  • Katherine Tran, MSc (2017)
  • Kyle Sewak, MSc ( 2017)

Current Postdoctoral Scientists

  • Dr. Aidin Jabarri

Former Postdoctoral Scientists

  • Professor Mike Nishizaki (Carelton College, USA)
  • Dr. Damien Bouffard (Group Leader, EAWAG, Swizerland)
  • Dr. Robert Schindler (University of Plymouth, UK)

My current courses include

  • BIOL*4350 Limnology of Natural and Polluted Waters (Fall 2016, 2017)
  • ZOO*4570 Marine Ecology Processes (Winter 2017, 2018)
  • IBIO*6070 Advances in Integrative Biology as Advanced Physical Ecology (Fall 2016)