Watershed Science + Restoration Hillslopes, stream channels, hydrologic processes, riparian vegetation, and aquatic biota are connected together at a huge range of temporal and spatial scales, are often the dominant controlling processes in riparian and aquatic ecosystems. My doctoral research examined the linkages among historic forest management practices, geomorphic processes, and stream ecosystem dynamics in the Klamath Mountains of Northern California. I determined relationships among sediment supply, streambed sediment, and benthic macroinvertebrate communities, and demonstrated how debris flows can have long-term, catastrophic effects on riparian vegetation, downstream food webs, water temperature, and salmonid habitat. More recent work includes collaborative projects to understand how patterns of sediment dynamics and riparian wood loading affect habitat for juvenile coho salmon in Lagunitas Creek (Marin County) and how bank armoring influences stream communities in Southern California. I recently completed a five-year position as a member of the Russian River Independent Science Review Panel, where I worked with a collaborative team of eminent scientists to develop a process-based model for the Russian River watershed that links groundwater and surface water hydrology, stream channel geomorphology, and habitat for salmonids and other aquatic life. My graduate students are advancing this work on watershed systems in a number of novel ways. Alfred Brennan is examining including a study that identified feedbacks among stream hydrology, riparian vegetation (namely Carex sedges), and perennial pool habitat for the Red Hills Roach, a fish that is endemic to several miles of intermittent streams in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Diku Sherpa is studying connections among meadow health, summer hydrology, and aquatic biodiversity in Sierra Nevada meadow streams. Some of this work was recently featured in The Confluence[link], a blog by Dr. Faith Kearns of the University of California Institute for Water Resources.
Cover, M. R., May, C. L., Resh, V. H., and Dietrich, W. E. 2008. Quantitative linkages among sediment supply, streambed fine sediment, and benthic macroinvertebrates in northern California streams. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27:135-149. [Link]
Cover, M. R., de la Fuente, J., and Resh, V. H. 2010. Catastrophic disturbances in headwater streams: the long-term ecological effects of debris flows and debris floods in the Klamath Mountains, northern California. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 67:1596-1610. [Link]
Lawrence, J. E., Resh, V. H., and Cover, M. R. 2012. Large-wood loading from natural and engineered processes at the watershed scale. River Research and Applications 29: 1030-1041. [Link]
Stein, E. D., Cover, M. R., Fetscher, A. E., O’Reilly, C., Guardado, R., Solek, C. W. 2013. Reach-scale geomorphic and biological effects of localized stream bank armoring. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 49:780-792. [Link]
Lawrence, J. E., Cover, M. R., May, C. L., and Resh, V. H. 2014. Replacement of culvert styles has minimal impact on benthic macroinvertebrates in forested, mountainous streams of Northern California. Limnologica 47:7-20.[Link]
Stream Biomonitoring + Water Quality I work with students, water quality managers, and community groups to develop field, laboratory, and analytical methods to examine patterns in stream health throughout watersheds. I have worked closely with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) and other organizations to design and conduct studies throughout the Bay Area, including research on watershed-scale biomonitoring studies, trash assessment methods, natural variability in reference conditions, focused studies of impaired water bodies, and an Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) for non-perennial streams of the Bay Area. Additionally, I have supported biomonitoring programs with the Tuolumne River Trust (Modesto), Friends of Sausal Creek (Oakland), and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians (Tuolumne County). A graduate student, Christina Robinson, completed a survey of the invasive New Zealand Mud Snail in Marin County streams funded by the Marin Municipal Water District and the North Bay Watershed Association.
Lunde, K., Cover, M., Mazor, R., Sommers, C., Resh, V. 2013. Identifying reference sites and quantifying biological variability within benthic macroinvertebrate communities in perennial and non-perennial northern California streams. Environmental Management 51:1262-1273. [Link]
Moore, S. M., Cover, M. R., and Senter, A. 2007. A rapid trash assessment method applied to waters of the San Francisco Bay Region: trash measurement in streams. Final Technical Report for the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, Oakland, CA.
Nicely, P., Cover, M., Taberski, K., White, N., Hunt, J., Krottje, P., and Moore, S. 2007. Water quality monitoring and bioassessment in nine San Francisco Bay Region watersheds. Final Technical Report for the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, Oakland, CA
Katznelson, R., White, N., Cover, M., and Taberski, K. 2007. Water quality monitoring and bioassessment in San Francisco Bay Region watersheds: Kirker Creek, Mt. Diablo Creek, Petaluma River, and San Mateo Creek. Final Technical Report for the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, Oakland, CA.
Katznelson, R., Cover, M., Anderson, K., Otis, P., and Taberski, K. 2008. Water quality monitoring and bioassessment in selected San Francisco Bay Region watersheds in 2004- 2006. Final Technical Report for the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, Oakland, CA.
Natural History of Aquatic Insects I am fascinated by the diversity and life history adaptations of aquatic insects, especially those that live in intermittent streams. Aquatic insects are an especially valuable study system for student research, as they are ubiquitous, abundant, and incredibly diverse. My focal group of insects is the Megaloptera (fishflies, dobsonflies, and alderflies), a small order of aquatic insects that inhabit a diverse set of aquatic habitats including intermittent and perennial streams and lakes. For the past 3 years I have been working with undergraduate students to investigate the landscape genetics of several species of Megaloptera in California. Using primarily mtDNA COI (the “DNA Barcoding” gene), our findings suggest that two recognized species, Neohermes filicornis and N. californicus, are actually a species complex of seven distinct clades with high phylogeographic differentiation. We are currently expanding this work to include additional mitochondrial and nuclear genes and additional species. Students have undertaken a variety of studies on other groups of aquatic insects. Christine Parisek, Georget Oraha, and Elias Lopez are working together to study the landscape genetics, life history, and comparative physiology of the water penny beetle, Eubrianax edwardsii. We have documented this species in a number of novel habitats, including lakes and isolated pools in intermittent streams.
Cover, M. R., Seo, J. H., and Resh, V. H. 2015. Life history, burrowing behavior, and distribution of Neohermes filicornis (Megaloptera: Corydalidae), a long-lived aquatic insect in intermittent streams. Western North American Naturalist 75: 474-490. [Link]
Cover, M. R., and Bogan, M. T. 2014. The Minor Aquatic Insect Orders. Pages 1059-1072 in Thorp and Covitch’s Freshwater Invertebrates, Volume I: Ecology and General Biology. Eds: Thorp, J. H., Rogers, C. D., and Tockner, K. Academic Press.