Samantha L. Rumschlag Research Assistant Professor

Freshwater Biodiversity and Community Ecology
Samantha L. Rumschlag

Research Interests:

I am a community ecologist focused on understanding how disturbance alters ecological communities and ecosystem functions in streams and ponds. The forms of disturbance that I study include infectious disease, chemical pollution, biodiversity loss, and biotic homogenization of communities. To address this research focus, I use laboratory and outdoor mesocosm experiments and data-intensive statistical analyses across spatiotemporal scales. Currently, my research focuses on the following themes:

1. Anthropogenic environmental change as a driver of infectious disease

Anthropogenic environmental change is rapid and widespread. Environmental change can influence both hosts and parasites, and the net effect of these forces can have consequences for infectious disease dynamics. I investigate how pesticides, changing temperature, and host resource availability influence host-pathogen interactions in amphibian-fungal and amphibian-trematode systems.

2. The disruption of aquatic communities and ecosystems by chemical pollution

Freshwater systems are the most biodiverse in the world and provide important ecosystem services to humans, yet these systems are globally imperiled because of widespread pollution of synthetic chemicals. My work investigates how synthetic chemicals can alter ecological communities and ecosystem functions in ponds and streams.

3. Contributions of community composition to ecosystem function

Human-induced alterations to natural systems have led to a homogenization of ecological communities (an increase in the number of shared species across locations), which could have negative consequences for the functioning of ecosystems. My latest research endeavor seeks to examine trends in biodiversity across time and space and determine the extent to which changes in community composition influence ecosystem functions including primary production, decomposition, and ecosystem respiration in aquatic and terrestrial systems.

 

Biography:

  • Research Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame, IN, Department of Biological Sciences 2020-present
  • Post-doctoral Research Scholar, University of Notre Dame, IN, Department of Biological Sciences 2019-2020
  • Post-doctoral Research Scholar, University of South Florida, FL, Department of Integrative Biology 2016-2019
  • Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology – Miami University, OH 2016
  • B.S. Biology – Denison University, OH 2010

 

Recent Papers:

  • Rumschlag, S.L., M.B. Mahon, J.T. Hoverman, T.R. Raffel, H.J. Carrick, P.J. Hudson, J.R. Rohr. 2020. Consistency of pesticide effects on ecosystem function via changes to community structure in freshwater systems. Nature Communications 11:6333.
  • Rumschlag, S.L., M.B. Mahon, J.T. Hoverman, T.R. Raffel, H.J. Carrick, P.J. Hudson, J.R. Rohr. in press. Consistency of pesticide effects on ecosystem function via changes to community structure in freshwater systems. Nature Communications.
  • Hoover, C.M., S.L. Rumschlag, L. Strgar, A. Arakala, M. Gambhir, G.A. de Leo, S.H. Sokolow, J.R. Rohr, J.V. Remais. Effects of agrochemical pollution on schistosomiasis transmission: A systematic review and modeling analysis. 2020. The Lancet Planetary Health 4(7): E280-E291.
  • Rumschlag, S.L., S.M. Bessler, and J.R. Rohr. 2019. Incorporating environmental sampling effort and landscape-level contaminant use into fate and transport models to improve exposure estimates. Water Research 156(1):372-382.
  • Rumschlag, S.L., N. Halstead, J.T. Hoverman, T.R. Raffel, H.J. Carrick, P.J. Hudson, and J.R. Rohr. 2019. Effects of pesticides on exposure and susceptibility can be generalized to class and type in aquatic communities. Ecology Letters 22(6):962-972.
  • Rumschlag, S.L. and J.R. Rohr. 2018. The influence of pesticide use on amphibian chytrid fungal infections varies with host life stage. Global Ecology and Biogeography 27(11):1277-1287. (IF: 6.4)
  • Burrow, A.K., S.L. Rumschlag, and M.D. Boone. 2017. Host size influences the effects of four isolates of an amphibian chytrid fungus. Ecology and Evolution 7(22):9196-9202.