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A picture of Dr. Debbie Guelda taking water samples at a river

Dr. Debbie Guelda



Office: S 218-I

Phone: (218) 755-2786

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How did I become an aquatic biologist?

      When I was an undergraduate I began working in the Large River Lab at the University of Louisville. Our research centered on (you guessed it) working on large rivers such as the lower Ohio River and Tennessee, Wabash, Kentucky, and Green Rivers. It was at that time that I became very interested in not only the aquatic systems themselves, but the organisms that resided within those systems. Invertebrates became my organism of choice to work with, specifically zooplankton.
I graduated with my BA from U of L and stayed there to complete both a Master's and Doctorate degree, all while focusing on invertebrates in riverine systems.
      Since coming to BSU, my research has subtly changed and now I am working on benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates in streams as well as zooplankton in the familiar lake-river continuum that we see in Northern Minnesota. I currently work with several undergraduate and graduate students who share my interests in aquatic systems and the resident invertebrates.
      I feel very, very lucky to have joined an amazing faculty in the Biology Department. I also feel that the Aquatic Biology program is fortunate to have, in addition to myself, the talents of Dr. Don Cloutman (fish guy) and Dr. Richard Koch (wetland guy). If I have to say so myself we make up quite a team.
I teach several courses at BSU and these include Introductory Biology II, Limnology II, Freshwater Invertebrates, Entomology, Animal Behavior, Marine Biology and Graduate Seminar. I fully believe that lecture and lab can be a LOT of fun as well as educational. I love coming to work and it is my hope that my students find as much joy in learning as I do in teaching.




•    Ph.D. Riverine Ecology - 2001. University of Louisville, Louisville, KY Dissertation: Zooplankton community structure and function in the Ohio River watershed.
•    Aquatic Ecology - 2001. University of Louisville, Louisville, KY Non-thesis Masters
•    B.A. Biology - 1996. University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
•    Member; Mortar Board Honor Society

Bemidji State University: 2001 to current

Courses Taught:

  • Invited seminar course. The Science of Sex, Honors 1105: Lecturer. A freshman honors course introducing the concept of sex from a biological and sociological perspective. Co-taught with Dr. Karen Branden. Topics ranged from sexual reproductive diversity in the animal kingdom to sexual identity and gender reassignment in humans.
  • Animal Behavior, Biol 3150, Lecturer. An upper level course in animal behavior. Topics include proximate and ultimate causations for behavior, evolution, mating systems, learning, social groups, etc.
  • Aquatic Systems, Biol 1150: Lecturer. A liberal education course designed to introduce a diversity of aquatic systems (lakes, streams, rivers). Both biotic and abiotic components as well as traditional aquatic ecology are emphasized. This course is only taught on-line.
  • Freshwater Invertebrates, Biol 3200: Lecturer and laboratory instructor. An upper level course introducing the major freshwater invertebrate groups. The course included taxonomic classification, life history, behavior, and ecology. Emphasis was placed on groups of organisms commonly found in northern Minnesota. Lab included field sampling, specimen identification, and student invertebrate collections.
  • People and the Environment, Biol 2925: Lecturer. A team-taught liberal arts course providing information on human's effects on the environment; causations and solutions. Topics covered included population growth, water usage, biodiversity, fossil and alternative fuel use, and climate change. Weekly small group meetings included discussions, debates, and the publication of newsletters on environmental issues.
  • Marine Biology, Biol 3930: Lecturer. A liberal arts course designed to provide information regarding the abiotic, biotic and ecosystem diversity of marine systems. Includes lectures on oceanography, taxonomy, ecology and evolution.
  • Entomology, Biol 3310: Lecturer and laboratory instructor. A course designed to present information on the life history, taxonomy, classification, diversity, behavior and ecology of both terrestrial and aquatic insects. A field collection and identification of captured specimens is required.
  • Comparative Invertebrate Zoology, Biol 2310: Lecturer and laboratory instructor. A course designed to present information on the structure, function, behavior, ecology, taxonomy and classification of terrestrial, aquatic and marine invertebrates. Lab includes dissection, behavior and classification.
  • Introductory Biology II, Biol 1211: Lecturer and laboratory coordinator. Lecture includes information on the major plant and animal phyla. Laboratories include physiology, structure and function and classification of the major plant and animal groups.
  • Graduate Seminar, Biol 6920: Lecturer. A graduate level course providing information on the writing and presentation of scientific data. This course was ?tailored? to the needs and progress of individual graduate students. Students wrote research proposals/papers and presented data in powerpoint and poster format. The second semester of this course will include grant-writing and job seminar presentations.
  • Advanced Projects in Biology I and II, Biol 4894: Advisor. An upper level course designed to provide experience in experimental design, field and lab techniques, data collection and analysis. Projects are designed based on the research interests of the individual students.

On-line courses - All descriptions of these courses can be found above.

•    Animal Behavior, Biol 3150
•    Introductory Biology I, Biol 1211
•    Introductory Biology II, Biol 1211

Grad Students advised

  • Dina Janke - Project under discussion
  • Jared House - Distribution of Faucet Snails in Beltrami County, MN
  • Tina Pierce - Associations between benthic macroinvertebrate and aquatic plant communities
  • Matthew Phillips – Spatial and temporal differences in macroinvertebrates and zooplankton populations in the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  B.S. May 2011.
  • Kayla Bowe - Population dynamics of aquatic macrophytes in temporary forested ponds. Anticipated graduation,  B.S. May 2008.
  • Tara Solem - Stream macroinvertebrates associated with woody debris in northern hardwood forests: influence of geomorphology and forest age. B.S. May, 2005.

Senior projects advised

•    2011 – Jonathan Newkirk – Fish IBI in Cyprinid fishes
•    2011 – Mitch Rigleman – Alaskan salmon fecundities
•    2011 – Christian Levitt – Native crayfish habitat preferences
•    2011 – Dylan Olson – Reproductive success in freshwater cherry shrimp
•    2011 – Rachel Sams – Angler demographics in Beltrami County lakes
•    2010 -Kellee Banta – Seasonal succession of urban nocturnal insects
•    2010 -Krystal Michaels – Zooplankton population dynamics in the Mississippi river-lake continuum
•    2010 -Jeff Woodford – Characterization of native and impacted wetlands
•    2010 -Tessa Salisbury – Seasonal variability in lentic zooplankton populations
•    2009 -Joshua Karch – Urban and rural deer habitat
•    2009- Joshua Tharaldson – Deer vigilance during breeding and hunting seasons
•    2009- Mackinzie Adams – Perfuming behavior in the Coatimundi
•    2009-Lief Eidsmore – Monarch butterfly reproductive success in urban and rural areas
•    2009 -Caleb Erickson – Songbird foraging and food utilization
•    2007 - Ryan Anderson – A Comparison of Habitat of the Rough-tailed Grouse.
•    2007 - Amanda Johnson – Macroinvertebrate densities in Beltrami county lakes.
•    2007 - Trish Longanecker and Ramsey Miller  – Arrival dates and food preference of Bemidji songbirds.
•    2007 - Brian Miller and Scott Thomas – Economic importance of the fishing industry to the city of Bemidji.
•    2007-Steve Pellinen – Diversity of macroinvertebrates near water treatment facilities.
•    2006 - Ryan Gustafson - The Habits and Behaviors of Waterfowl on Lake Bemidji: Comparing Spring and Fall.
•    2006 - Corie Serleth - Importance of Freshwater Invertebrates as Biological Indicators of Lake Health
•    2006 - Ryan Anderson - A Comparison of Habitat of the Rough-tailed Grouse.
•    2005 - Randy Lowe - Bioassessment of Mississippi River invertebrates
•    2005 - Katrina Kehoe - Effect of bullet shape on impact angle (done in conjunction with the BCA)
•    2005 - Jennifer Hofer - Bioassessment of streams in Yellowstone National Park
•    2005 - Angela Decrans - Efficacy of shoreline restoration to native invertebrates
•    2005 - Jessica Kingsley - Reproductive behavior in Betta splendans (the common Betta)
•    2005 - Kayla Thompson - Monitoring mammalian predator distribution in Minnesota
•    2005 - Kori Hutchinson - Population study of the Gypsy Moth in Minnesota
•    2004 - Katie Palmer - Aquatic insects in Michigan
•    2004 - Stephanie Williams - Aquatic insects in Michigan
•    2004 - Yolanda Williams - Dental disease in the Red Lake Band of the Chippewa
•    2003 - Sarah Roley - Benthic invertebrates in the Mississippi River
•    2003 - Erich Westrich - Zooplankton in the Mississippi River
•    2003 - Kelli Knoll - Salmon populations in Oregon streams
•    2003 - Josh Kragthorpe - Spatial differences in insects in Minnesota
•    2003 – Desiree’ Snyder - Paramecium competition in various habitats
•    2002 - David Orabutt (with Don Cloutman) - Eel pout population size structure

Professional Associations

•    American Entomological Society (ESA)
•    American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)
•    Minnesota Academy of Science (MAS)
•    Mississippi River Research Consortium (MRRC)
•    North American Benthological Association (NABS)

University Service (BSU)

•    Faculty Senator

 .    Biology Graduate Student Coordinator
•    Member of Graduate Faculty
•    Biology Club advisor
•    Recruitment Committee
•    Biology Scholarship Committee
•    Professional Improvement Committee -  Chair
•    Professional Improvement representative on Outreach and Partnership
•    Science Fair Committee -  Co-Chair
•    Share the Future - coordinator


Prior to BSU - (Pre - 2001)

Indiana University Southeast, New Albany: 1999 to 2001 - Adjunct Professor

Courses Taught:

  • Zoology, Z103: Lecturer and laboratory coordinator. An introduction to animal classification, diversity, anatomy, physiology, reproduction and specimen dissection. Also included animal behavior, field sampling, terrestrial and aquatic ecology, laboratory experimentation, field sampling methods and data analysis.
  • Environmental Science, E162: Lecturer. An upper level science course presenting the sources and solutions of environmental problems such as population growth, habitat destruction, pollution, atmospheric warming, and alternative fuel sources. Includes class discussions and debates on current and local environmental issues.

University of Louisville, Louisville, KY: 1996 to 2001. - Teaching Assistant

Courses Taught:

  • Zoology, and Honors Zoology 241 : Laboratory instructor. An introduction to animal classification, diversity, anatomy, physiology, reproduction and specimen dissection. Honors: assisted in the preparation and evaluation of Capstone Projects
  • Diversity of Organisms 241 and General Biology 104: Laboratory instructor. An introduction to both botany and zoology with accompanying plant and animal classification, diversity, anatomy, physiology, and dissections.
  • Tropical Marine Biology : Field and laboratory instructor. An introduction to reef, pelagic, and intertidal systems in Roatan, Honduras. Primary responsibilities included all in-country lectures, specimen collection and identification, diving, laboratory preparation, and coordination of international travel and lodging for 22 students.

Environmental Work Experience

  • Macroinvertebrate diversity in conjunction with debris dams in the Porcupine Mnts of upper Michigan: (2002-2005). The assessment of the importance of debris dams in high and low gradient streams of old and secondary growth forests to macroinvertebrate density, diversity, biomass and organic matter processing.
  • Large River Program, University of Louisville: 1995-2001. The design and implementation of large scale mesocosm experimentation including biotic and abiotic manipulations of riverine plankton communities focusing on factors controlling planktonic growth, grazing and community development. In situ experimentation of plankton, invertebrate, and zebra mussel interactions in the Ohio River.
  • In conjunction with Murray State University, Murray, KY: Monthly lake, river and watershed sampling including all major tributaries of the Ohio River; the Green, Wabash, Kentucky, Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. Sampling protocol included chemistry monitoring, algal assays, zooplankton collection, identification and stoichiometric analysis. Includes seasonal riverine in situ experimentation of bacterial and primary production.