Assistant Professor in Aquatic Ecology
Broadly speaking, my research focuses on understanding how species interactions structure ecological communities and influence ecosystem function. Much of my research focuses on empirically testing the mechanisms driving species interactions in order to test and refine ecological theory. For me, biological invasions have provided an exciting model system because the interactions between native and exotic species often reflect current ecological processes. Yet, at the same time native and exotic species are under strong selection pressures to evolve in response to a rapidly changing environment. Within this context, I aim to understand the ecological and evolutionary processes of species interactions for making prescriptive predictions regarding how anthropogenically-driven changes in biodiversity alter key ecological processes.
Individual and population level variability in consumption of novel prey: implications for biological invasions.
Despite many examples of non-native species that exert large predatory effects on native prey, we know very little about how invasions of non-native prey affect native predators. This gap in our understanding of species invasions reduces our ability to predict the strength of biotic resistance and enemy release experienced by non-native prey species. Two projects associated with this research question include:
- What factors influence the dietary breadth of a species? In collaboration with recent MS student Lauren Hostert & Dr. Jeb Byers at U-Georgia, we are investigating the mechanisms behind individual and population-level variation in the willingness of the native mud crab predator (Panopeus herbstii) to consume a novel, invasive estuarine crab (Petrolisthes armatus).
- What are the indirect effects of non-native species on native species? In collaboration with MS student Christopher Johnson we are looking at the role of apparent competition between the non-native rusty crayfish and the native Sanborn’s crayfish that may result from increases in fish predator abundance do to the arrival of a non-native prey.
Evaluating trade-offs between improving ecosystem function and maintaining biodiversity in restored coastal wetlands along the Western Lake Erie Basin.
Historically, coastal wetlands along the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) supported a wide range of ecosystem services, such as improving water quality, reducing flood risk, preventing shoreline erosion, retaining nutrients, and providing fish and wildlife for food and recreation. Today, only 5% of Lake Erie's coastal wetlands remain and the majority of these are diked, thereby severing the hydrological connections needed to sustain ecologically and economically important ecosystem functions. Although restoring wetland hydrology is expected to have long-term net benefits to WLEB and surrounding watershed, short-term increases in nutrients, sediments and contaminants may have an effect on native biodiversity within focal restoration sites. In collaboration with Dr. Suzanne Gray, MS student Jenna Odegard, The Nature Conservancy, USFWS, NOAA and Ohio Sea Grant we are applying an integrated Biodiversity-Ecosystem function framework to understand how coastal wetland restorations may impose short-term effects (e.g. via increased nutrients, sediments & contaminants) on wetland macroinvertebrate and fish biodiversity despite long-term improvements in ecosystem function (e.g. decreased nutrient run-off into Lake Erie & improved water quality).
- Animal personality as a framework for studying the invasion success of non-native species.
- Indirect effects of predators on ecosystem function & the role of adaptive consumer foraging.
- Evolutionary game theory as a framework for studying biological invasions.
- Applying ecological niche modeling to predict the distribution and spread of invasive species.
- Evaluating the impacts of aquatic invasive plants on native biodiversity in collaboration with the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation.
- Evaluating the influence of species traits and nutrients on the dominance of cyanobacteria in Choctaw Lake (in collaboration with Honor’s Student Jim Palus).
ENR 5348, Conservation & Management of Aquatic Populations (Spring 2014)
ENR 5345, Methods in Aquatic Ecology (Fall 2012, Fall 2013)
ENR 3300, Introduction to Forestry, Fisheries & Wildlife (Spring 2013)
Pintor, L.M., K.M. Mcghee, D. Roche and A.M. Bell. 2013. Individual variation in foraging behavior reveals a trade-off between flexibility and performance of a top predator. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 68:1711-1722.
K.M. McGhee, L.M. Pintor and A.M. Bell. 2013. Reciprocal behavioral plasticity and behavioral types during predator-prey interactions The American Naturalist 182(6):704-717.
Byers, J.E., W.G. McDowell, S. Robertson, R. Haynie, L.M. Pintor & S.B. Wilde. 2013. Climate and pH predict the spread of the invasive apple snail (Pomacea insularum) in the southeastern United States. PLOS One 8(2):e56812.
McGhee, K.E., L.M. Pintor & A.M. Bell. 2012. Maternal exposure to predation risk decreases offspring survival in threespined sticklebacks. Functional Ecology 26(4):932-940.
Pintor, L.M., J.S. Brown and T.L. Vincent. 2010. Evolutionary game theory as a framework for studying biological invasions. American Naturalist 177(4):410-423.
Pintor, L.M. & A. Sih. 2010. Scale dependent effects of native species richness, prey availability and disturbance on the invasion success of an exotic predator. Biological Invasions 13(6):1357-1366.
Sih, A., D.I. Bolnick, B. Luttbeg, J.L. Orrock, S.D. Peacor, L.M. Pintor, E.L. Preisser, J.S. Rehage, and J.R. Vonesh. 2010. Predator-prey naivete, antipredator behavior, and the ecology of predator invasions. Oikos 119(4): 610-621.
Pintor, L.M., A. Sih & J.L. Kerby 2009. Behavioral correlations provide a mechanism for explaining high invader densities and increased impacts on native prey. Ecology 90(3):581-587
Pintor, L.M. & A. Sih. 2009. Growth & behavior differences between native and introduced populations of an invasive crayfish. Biological Invasions 11(8):1895-1902
Pintor, L.M., A. Sih & M.L. Bauer*. 2008. Differences in aggression, activity and boldness between native and introduced populations of an invasive crayfish. Oikos 117:1629-1636.
Ajie, B.V., L.M. Pintor, J. Watters, J.L. Kerby, J.I. Hammond, A. Sih. 2006. A framework for determining the fitness consequences of antipredator behavior. Behavioral Ecology 18:267-270.
Pintor, L.M. & D.A. Soluk. 2006. Persistence of an endangered species facilitated by the presence of a predator. Biological Conservation 130:584-591.