Yvonne M. Vadeboncoeur, Ph.D.

Biological Sciences
Professor Biological Sciences
Biological Sciences Bldg 226, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Dayton, OH 45435-0001
Curriculum Vitae: 
Education History: 
  • Postdoctoral Fellow. McGill University,Quebec. 2000-2002
  • NATO/NSF Postdoctoral Fellow. National Environmental Research Inst., Denmark. 1998-1999
  • Ph.D. Aquatic Ecology. University of Notre Dame. 1998.



BIO 2310 Ecology and Evolution

BIO 4110 Aquatic Environment

BIO 4560 Ecosystem Ecology and Global Change

BIO 4730 Biology of Selected Marine Environments


Research statement: 

I research the importance of energy linkages among habitats in freshwater ecosystems. I am especially interested in the function of benthic, or bottom, habitats in both lakes and streams. Ecosystems are mosaics of habitats, and plants and animals function as dynamic links between habitats, participating in and modifying patterns of energy production and transformation.  Understanding the relationships between habitat complexity, organisms, and ecosystem function is critical to conserving aquatic biodiversity, most of which is associated with benthic habitats. The shallow littoral zone at the edges of lakes is much more physically complex than the homogeneous, open water pelagic habitat. Our research examines the role of this structured edge habitat in lake carbon and nutrient dynamics, and the importance of aquatic organisms in maintaining these functions. We use a variety of approaches including broad-scale geographic surveys, laboratory experiments, field experiments, mathematical models, stoichiometric analysis and stable isotope analysis. My lab has quantified benthic algal primary productivity and its importance to food webs in lakes throughout the world. Currently, we have three research sites.  At the North Temperate Lake LTER site in northern Wisconsin, we are examining the role of benthic algae in lake food webs, and how the function of the littoral zone changes across lake-size gradients. This work is in collaboration with Jake Vander Zanden at the Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison and is funded by the National Science Foundation. In Africa, we are looking at interactions between attached algae and herbivorous fish in Lake Tanganyika. The littoral zone of Lake Tanganyika hosts a phenomenal diversity of fish and invertebrates. The benthic algae that support this diversity are incredibly productive, but the water itself is extremely nutrient poor. How can such high productivity and diversity persist in the face of apparent extreme nutrient scarcity? We are using field and lab experiments to test whether grazing fish increase nutrient turnover and nutrient retention in the littoral zone, and consequently whether fish increase the overall productivity of the littoral zone.  This work is conducted in collaboration with the Nyanza project, an international, interdisciplinary NSF REU program on east African lakes spearheaded by the University of Arizona. We also conduct research in the rivers of Ohio, which support some of the highest fish and invertebrate diversity in North America. We are examining the role of habitat complexity in determining the distribution of rare and common darters (a group of small benthic fishes) in Big Darby Creek. Overall, our research seeks to contribute to a synthetic understanding of the importance of both physical and biological complexity to ecosystem function.




Vadeboncoeur Y. and M. E. Power. Attached algae: the cryptic base of inverted trophic pyramids in freshwaters. In Press Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics.

Brothers, S., Y. Vadeboncoeur and P. Sibly. 2017. A decline in benthic algal production may explain recent hypoxic events in Lake Erie's central basin. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 43:73-78.

Lukens, NR, BM Kraemer, V Constant, EJ Hamann, E Michel, AM Socci, Y Vadeboncoeur and PB McIntyre. 2017. Animals and their epibiota as net autotrophs: size scaling of epibiotic metabolism on snail shells. Freshwater Science. In Press.

Kelly, B.K., E. Mtiti, P.B. McIntyre, and Y. Vadeboncoeur. 2017. Nitrogen stable isotopes reveal sewage contamination of Lake Tanganyika by shoreline villages. Environmental Management 59:264–273.

Brothers, S., Y. Vadeboncoeur and P. Sibly. 2016. Benthic algae compensate for phytoplankton losses in large aquatic systems. Global Change Biology 22:3865-3873.

Drerup, S.A. and Y. Vadeboncoeur. 2016. Elevated specific conductance enhances productivity and biomass of periphytic cyanobacteria from Lake Tahoe and Lake Tanganyika. Phycologia 55: 295–298.

Devlin, S.P., M.J. Vander Zanden, and Y. Vadeboncoeur. 2016. Littoral-benthic primary production estimates: sensitivity to simplifications with respect to periphyton productivity and basin morphometry. Limnology and Oceanography Methods. DOI: 10.1002/lom3.10080

Kraemer, B.M, S. Hook, T. Huttula, P. Kotilainen, C. M. O'Reilly, A. Peltonen, P-D. Plisnier, J. Sarvala, R.Tamatamah, Y. Vadeboncoeur, B. Wehrli and P. B. McIntyre. 2015. Century-long changes in the thermal structure of Lake Tanganyika. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0134537. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134537

Kraemer, B.M., O. Anneville, S. Chandra, M. Dix, E. Kuusisto, D.M. Livingstone , A. Rimmer, G. Schladow, E. Silow, L.M. Sitoki, R. Tamatamah, Y. Vadeboncoeur and P. B. McIntyre. 2015.  Morphometry and average temperature affect global lake stratification responses to climate change. Geophysical Research Letters 42: 4981-4988

Higgins, S.N., B. Althouse, *S.P. Devlin, Y. Vadeboncoeur, and M.J. Vander Zanden. 2014. Potential for large-bodied zooplankton and dreissenids to alter the productivity and autotrophic structure of lakes. Ecology 95: 2257-2267.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., *S.P. Devlin, P.B. McIntyre, and M.J. Vander Zanden. 2014. Is there light after depth? Distribution of periphyton chlorophyll and productivity in lake littoral zones. Freshwater Science 33:524-536.

Devlin, S.P., M.J. Vander Zanden, and Y. Vadeboncoeur. 2013. Depth-specific variation in carbon isotopes demonstrates resource partitioning among the littoral zoobenthos. Freshwater Biology 58:2389-2400.

Genkai-Kato, M., Y. Vadeboncoeur, L. Liboriussen, and E. Jeppesen. 2012. Benthic–planktonic coupling, regime shifts, and whole-lake primary production in shallow lakes. Ecology 93:619-631.

Butkas, K.J., Y. Vadeboncoeur, and M.J. Vander Zanden. 2011. Estimating benthic invertebrate production in lakes: a comparison of methods and scaling from individual taxa to the whole-lake level. Aquatic Sciences 73:153–169.

Higgins, S.N., M.J. Vander Zanden, L.N. Joppa, and Y. Vadeboncoeur. 2011. The effect of dreissenid invasions on chlorophyll and the chlorophyll : total phosphorus ratio in north-temperate lakes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 319-329. (cited: 8)

Vadeboncoeur, Y., P.B. McIntyre, and M. J. Vander Zanden.  2011.  Borders of biodiversity: life at the edge of the world’s large lakes.  BioScience 61:526-537.

Vander Zanden, M.J. Y. Vadeboncoeur, and S. Chandra. 2011. Fish reliance on littoral-benthic resources and the distribution of primary production in lakes. Ecosystems 14:894-903.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., G. Peterson, M.J. Vander Zanden, and J. Kalff. 2008. Benthic algal production across lake-size gradients: Interactions among morphometry, nutrients and light. Ecology 89:2542-2552.

Vander Zanden, M.J., S. Chandra, S-K Park, Y. Vadeboncoeur, and C. R. Goldman.  2006. The relative efficiencies of benthic and pelagic trophic pathways in a subalpine lake. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 63:2608-2620.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., J. Kalff, K. Christoffersen, and E. Jeppesen. 2006. Substratum as a driver of variation in periphyton chlorophyll and productivity in lakes. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 25:379-392.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., Kevin S. McCann, M. Jake Vander Zanden, and Joseph B. Rasmussen.   2005.  Effects of multi-chain omnivory on the strength of trophic control. Ecosystems. 8: 692-683.

Vander Zanden, M. J., Y. Vadeboncoeur, M. W. Diebel, and E. Jeppesen.  2005. Primary consumer stable nitrogen isotopes as indicators of nutrient source.  Environmental Science and Technology 39:7509-7515.

Vander Zanden, M. J., T. E. Essington, and Y. Vadeboncoeur.  2005. Is pelagic top-down control in lakes augmented by benthic energy pathways?  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 62:1422-1431.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., E. Jeppesen, M. J. Vander Zanden, H-H. Schierup, K. Christoffersen, and D. M. Lodge.  2003. From Greenland to green lakes: cultural eutrophication and the loss of benthic energy pathways in lakes.  Limnology and Oceanography 48:1408-1418.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., M. J. Vander Zanden, and D. M. Lodge.  2002.  Putting the lake back together: reintegrating benthic pathways into lake food web models.  BioScience 52: 44-55.

Vander Zanden, M. J. and Y. Vadeboncoeur.  2002.  Fish as integrators of benthic and pelagic food chains in lakes.  Ecology 83: 2152-2161.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., and A.D. Steinman.  2002.  Periphyton function in lake ecosystems.  Scientific World JOURNAL  2:1449-1468.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., D. M. Lodge, and S. R. Carpenter.  2001.  Whole-lake fertilization effects on the distribution of primary production between benthic and pelagic habitats.  Ecology.  82:1065-1077.

Vadeboncoeur, Y., and D. M. Lodge.  2000.  Periphyton production on wood and sediments: substratum-specific response to laboratory and whole-lake nutrient manipulations.  Journal of the North American Benthological Society 19: 68-81.

Vadeboncoeur, Y. and D. M. Lodge.  1998.  Dissolved inorganic carbon sources for epipelic algae: sensitivity of primary production estimates to spatial and temporal distribution of 14C.  Limnology and Oceanography 43: 1222-1226.

Lodge, D.M., S.C. Blumenshine, and Y. Vadeboncoeur.  1998.  Insights and application of large-scale, long-term ecological observations and experiments.  In W. J. Resetarits and J. Bernardo, eds.  Issues and Perspectives in Experimental Ecology.  Oxford University Press.

Blumenshine, S.C., Y. Vadeboncoeur, D.M. Lodge, K.L. Cottingham, and S.E. Knight.  1997.  Benthic-Pelagic Links: responses of benthos to water-column nutrient enrichment. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 16: 466-479. (cited: 80)

Vadeboncoeur, Y.  1994.  Longitudinal dynamics of seston concentration and composition in a lake outlet stream.  Journal of the North American Benthological Society 13:181-189.


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