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Matthew CooperMatthew Cooper


I am a fourth year PhD student in the Lamberti Lab. I came to Notre Dame in the fall of 2009 from the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.  I am primarily interested in coastal processes in large lakes and the majority of my past work has been conducted in Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Coastal wetlands make up less than 3% of the total surface area of the Great Lakes yet they serve as critical fish nursery habitat and have high rates of primary production which fuels nearshore food webs. Coastal wetlands also reduce coastal erosion, are important for nutrient retention and transformation, and have recreation and aesthetic value.

Despite their importance, at least half of all Great Lakes coastal wetlands have been destroyed since European settlement of the region. In this context, I feel it is critical that we work toward a better understanding of the complex ecological processes that occur within these systems.

RiverineCurrently, I am involved in a Great Lakes Basin-wide coastal wetland monitoring program funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  In 2011 we visited 167 wetlands and the goal of the project is to sample every Great Lake coastal wetland over the next 5 years.  This will yield data on approximately 1,000 different wetlands spread across all 5 Great Lakes.  At each wetland we are sampling fish, macroinvertebrates, plants, amphibians, birds, and water quality.  The scope of the monitoring program is unprecedented in the Great Lakes and involves 23 investigators from 11 institutions.  My current roles in the project include assistant project manager and quality control co-manager.

Another project I have begun while at Notre Dame is the development of function-based indicators of ecosystem condition for Great Lakes coastal wetlands.  This project is being funded by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and we are currently evaluating indicators that focus on algal and macrophyte productivity, nutrient-limitation, decomposition, and benthic oxygen demand.  My goal for this project is to develop indicators to supplement ongoing coastal wetland monitoring programs to provide insight on coastal wetland functional processes.

I am also a GLOBES fellow.  GLOBES (Global Linkages Of Biology, the Environment and Society) is Notre Dame’s NSF IGERT program.  As a GLOBES fellow I am challenged to put my research into an interdisciplinary context and ask questions beyond my own disciplinary boundaries.


           For reprints (PDF) of publications please contact

Peer Reviewed Publications:

  • Cooper, M.J., A.D. Steinman, and D.G. Uzarski. 2013. Influence of geomorphic setting on the
    metabolism of Lake Huron fringing wetlands. Limnology and Oceanography 58(2).
  • Steinman, A.D., M.E. Ogdahl, M. Weinert, K. Thompson, M.J. Cooper, and D.G. Uzarski. 2012. Water
    level fluctuation and sediment-water nutrient exchange in Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Journal of Great Lakes Research 38: 766-775.
  • Cooper, M.J., K.F. Gyekis, and D.G. Uzarski. 2012.  Edge effects on abiotic conditions, zooplankton,
    macroinvertebrates, and larval fishes in Great Lakes fringing marshes.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 38: 142-151.
  • Parker, A.D., M.J. Cooper, C.R. Ruetz III, D.P. Couter, and D.G. Uzarski. 2012. Chemical and physical
    factors associated with yellow perch abundances in Great Lakes coastal wetlands: patterns within and among wetland types. Wetlands Ecology and Management 20:137-150. 
  • Wieten, A.C., M.J. Cooper, A.D. Parker, and D.G. Uzarski. 2012. Great Lakes coastal wetland habitat use
    by seven turtle species: influences of wetland type, vegetation, and abiotic conditions. Wetlands Ecology and Management 20:47-58.
  • Cooper, M.J., C.R. Ruetz III, D.G. Uzarski, and B.M. Shafer. 2009. Habitat use and diet of the round goby
    (Neogobius melanostomus) in coastal areas of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 24(3): 477-488.
  • Uzarski, D.G., T.M. Burton, Kolar, R.E. and M.J. Cooper.  2009. The ecological impacts of fragmentation
    and vegetation removal in Lake Huron’s coastal wetlands. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 12(1): 1-17.
  • Cooper, M.J., R.R. Rediske, D.G. Uzarski, and T.M. Burton. 2009. Sediment contamination and faunal
    communities in two subwatersheds of Mona Lake, Michigan. Journal of Environmental Quality                 38: 1255-1265.
  • Uzarski, D.G., A.T. Bosch, and M.J. Cooper. 2009. Wetland ecology and management for fish, amphibians
    and reptiles. Encyclopedia of Inland Waters: G.E. Likens (ed). Elsevier. pp. 582-589.
  • Cooper, M.J., D.G. Uzarski, and T.M. Burton. 2009. Benthic Invertebrate Fauna, Wetland Ecosystems.  
    Encyclopedia of Inland Waters: G.E. Likens (ed). Elsevier. pp. 232-241
  • Cooper, M.J.,  D.G. Uzarski, and T.M. Burton. 2007. Macroinvertebrate community composition in
    relation to anthropogenic disturbance, vegetation, and organic sediment depth in four Lake
    Michigan drowned river-mouth wetlands. Wetlands 27(4): 894-903.
  • Cooper, M.J., C.R. Ruetz III, D.G. Uzarski, and T.M. Burton. 2007. Distribution of round gobies in coastal areas of
    Lake Michigan: Are wetlands resistant to invasion? Journal of Great Lakes Research 33(2): 303-313.
  • Bhagat, Y., J.J.H.Ciborowski, L.B .Johnson, D.G. Uzarski, T.M. Burton, Steven T.A. Timmermans, and M.J. Cooper. 2007. Testing a fish index of biotic integrity for responses to different stressors in Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Journal of Great Lakes Research 33 (Special Issue 3): 224-235.
  • Cooper, M.J., D.G. Uzarski, T.M. Burton, and R.R. Rediske. 2006. Macroinvertebrate community composition
    relative to chemical/physical variables, land use and cover, and vegetation types within a Lake Michigan
    drowned river mouth wetland. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9(4):463-479.
  • Gyekis, K.G., M.J. Cooper, D.G. Uzarski, and T.M. Burton. 2006. A high-intensity LED light source for larval fish
    and invertebrate floating quatrefoil light traps. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 21:621-626.
  • Uzarski, D.G., T.M. Burton, M.J. Cooper, D.A. Albert, J. Ingram, and S. Timmermans. 2005. Fish habitat use within and across wetland classes of the five Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 31:171-196.


© 2009 Stream Ecology Lab