The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff announces the appointment of Jonathan Spurgeon, Ph.D, to assistant professor of aquatic habitat restoration and management in the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries.

He will develop an independent, externally-funded research program with an emphasis on fish habitat restoration and ecosystem health in Arkansas, according to a news release.

“Dr. Spurgeon is the first to occupy this new faculty position, which will focus on aquatic habitat mitigation – an important ecological and recreational priority for our state,” said Rebecca Lochmann, Ph.D., interim chairwoman of the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries. “He has the ideal background to address these challenges, and has already partnered with state agencies and organizations that will benefit from his expertise.”

Throughout his research, Spurgeon will 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. In addition to publishing his research in peer-reviewed journals, he will also teach undergraduate and graduate courses in natural resources management and a new course in habitat management and restoration, according to the release.

Spurgeon has a doctorate degree in natural resource science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He earned a master’s and bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife science from the University of Missouri.

Previously, he worked first as a graduate research assistant and later as a post-doctoral research fellow for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where his research focused on understanding the response of fish to drivers of ecosystem processes, including human-induced alteration to habitats. From 2010-2012, he was a graduate research assistant for the University of Missouri.

Spurgeon’s professional history also includes appointments as a biological science technician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a fisheries technician for the University of Missouri and a non-commissioned officer for the U.S. Air Force.

His research experience has included topics such as hydrological-biological relationships, fish population dynamics, food-web ecology, conservation strategies for endangered fishes and sports-fish management. He has also worked to assess the influence of aquatic habitat rehabilitation practices on fish population dynamics.

Spurgeon has authored and co-authored numerous scientific papers, journal articles and book chapters. He has served as a manuscript reviewer for several scientific journals covering subjects related to fisheries ecology and management.

His professional memberships include the American Fisheries Society and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

— Will Hehemann is an Extension specialist - communications with the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences at UAPB.