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I am fascinated, aesthetically and intellectually, with freshwater aquatic communities, particularly in the western deserts and mountains of North America. I am interested in examining how animal behaviors, such as movement dynamics, can modulate the influence of species on their ecosystems. Particularly in the west, water is an often scarce and precious resource for humans and their environment--much of my work focuses on determining how to balance the use of our resources to ensure a sustainable future. Modern technology provides us with amazing tools (e.g., passive integrated transponders and sonar cameras) to address important questions and surmount difficult hurdles--it is a great time to be a scientist! I have recently started a lab at the University of Cincinnati in the Department of Biological Sciences--visit www.mikeboothlab.org for more information!

During my PhD research at Cornell University (advised by Alex Flecker and Nelson Hairston, Jr.), I investigated the movement patterns and ecological role of Desert and Sonoran suckers in streams of the Southwestern US. From 2011 to 2017, my work as Ecologist for United Water Conservation District in Ventura County, California, included a variety of applied research and monitoring, focusing in particular on the federally-listed Southern California steelhead and Pacific Lamprey, as well as a number of exotic and invasive pest species, including quagga mussel, Shimofuri goby, and bullfrogs.

Past research projects

(more info available at United Water Conservation District)

  • Designing stream flows to provide fish passage for migratory species (steelhead and lamprey) in sandy, intermittent river
  • Assessing the effectiveness of water releases for fish habitat and migration downstream of a reservoir
  • Tracking and monitoring the invasion of quagga mussels into the Santa Clara River watershed
  • Managing exotic species in off-channel aquatic habitats

Crossing Boundaries

In 2009-2010, I had the awesome opportunity to act as a conservation scientist for NSF-funded "Crossing Boundaries", a program that provides middle and high school students with knowledge, skills, motivation, and inspiration to use information and communication technologies in addressing biodiversity conservation issues in local and international contexts. They filmed a series of videos about my research that you can check out!

Selected publications

  • Howard, S and Booth, M.T.. Range expansion of the Shimofuri goby (Tridentiger bifasciatus) in southern California, with emphasis on the Santa Clara River. 2016. California Fish and Game. 102(2):45-49.
  • Booth, M.T., Hairston, N. G. Jr., Flecker, A. S. Is mobility a fixed trait? Summer movement patterns of catostomids using PIT telemetry. 2014. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 143(4):1098-1111. PDF
  • Booth, M.T., Hairston, N. G. Jr., Flecker, A. S. How mobile are fish populations? Diel movement, population turnover, and site fidelity in suckers. 2013. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science. 70(5):666-677. PDF
  • Booth, M.T. and A. J. Shipley. Spatial dynamics and growth of two native catastomid species: are movements restricted? 2012. Southwestern Naturalist. 57(3):248-256.
  • Capps, K.A., C.B. Turner, M.T. Booth, D.L. Lombardozzi, S.H. McArt, D. Chai, and N.G. Hairston, Jr. The behavioral and trophic ecology of an introduced fish, Gambusia affinis (Actinopterygii: Poeciliidae), and an endemic shrimp, Halocardina rubra (Malacostraca:Atyidae), in Hawaiian anchialine ponds. 2009. Pacific Science 63 (1): 27-37.
  • Capps, K. A., M. T. Booth, S. M. Collins, M. A. Davison, J. M. Moslemi, R. W. El-Sabaawi, J. L. Simonis, and A. S. Flecker. Nutrient diffusing substrata: a field comparison of commonly used methods to assess nutrient limitation. 2011. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 30 (2):522-532.