Erin E. Thayer has been appointed assistant professor of aquatic habitat restoration and management for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries.
In this position, she will develop an independent, externally-funded research program with emphasis on habitat restoration and ecosystem health.
Thayer will be expected to focus on one or more aspects of fish habitat management: in-stream and riparian habitat restoration; reservoir fish habitat enhancement; or watershed planning, management and restoration. Her work will contribute to the research, teaching and outreach missions of UAPB's Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence.
She will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in natural resources management and a new course in habitat management and restoration. She will also write for peer-reviewed journals.
Thayer's work will contribute to protecting Arkansas' 20,000 miles of streams, 600,000 acres of lakes and impoundments and 3 million acres of wetlands, said Lin Xie, Ph.D, acting chair of the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries.
"Arkansas streams have been influenced by numerous anthropogenic activities, and reservoirs have experienced natural aging processes," Xie said. "Given the state's enormous historical loss of wetlands, Arkansas is very active in wetlands protection, restoration and enhancement, especially through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. Dr. Thayer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to UAPB's contribution to these efforts."
Thayer holds a doctoral degree in renewable natural resources from Louisiana State University, a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries resources from West Virginia University, and a bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Colorado.
While working as a doctoral research assistant at LSU from 2016 to 2023, Thayer wrote her doctoral dissertation on the relationship of floodplain, hyporheic and downstream hydrologic connectivity to stream and river food webs in Louisiana.
Prior to joining UAPB, Thayer taught courses related to aquaculture/fisheries for the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources. At WVU, she taught courses in fisheries and biology.
From 2012 to 2013, she worked as a laboratory and fisheries technician for the Illinois Natural History, Lake Michigan Biological Station. In this position, she performed biological assessments of yellow perch and other fish in Lake Michigan.
From 2011 to 2012, as a North Pacific ground-fish observer for the Northwest Observer Inc. and Saltwater Inc., Thayer lived aboard catcher and catcher/processor commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. She sampled every haul of fish for species composition, weight and count and gathered data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service.
Earlier in her career she held positions as a fisheries technician for the California Department of Fish and Game, a biological technician for the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierra National Forest in California, and an environmental biology aide for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Thayer is a member of the Society for Wetlands Scientists, American Fisheries Society and Renewable Natural Resources Graduate Student Association.