Dr. Billie L. Kerans
Associate Professor of Ecology
Montana State University Bozeman
Ecology  Department

Dr. Billie Kerans has been a faculty member at Montana State University, Bozeman since 1996.   Billie received her Ph.D. in Zoology from Ohio State University in 1989 and a Masters in Biology in 1982 from from Wright State University, Ohio. 

She is interested in the topics of stream ecology, freshwater invertebrates, and quantitative and statistical ecology.  Her research focuses on the population, community ecology of stream macroinvertebrates and the dynamics of invasive species.  Her areas of recent research include: the effects of whirling disease on invertebrate populations and the community ecology of whirling disease hosts (salmonid fish & aquatic oligochaetes), the population biology of hydropsychid caddisflies, predator-prey interactions between mayflies and stoneflies, using benthic macroinvertebrates as tools for biomonitoring, and ecology of the New Zealand mud snail in the  Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

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Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Experience
 Manuscripts in Review
 Fellowships, Grants and Contracts




1989 Ph.D. Zoology.  The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.  "Causes and consequences of density-dependent dispersal of the caddisfly Hydropsyche slossonae."  (Advisers:  P. L. Chesson and R. A. Stein)

1982 M.S. Biology.  Wright State University, Dayton, OH.  "Atmospheric organic volatile concentration, meteorological conditions and the abundance of flying insects."  (Adviser:  W. J. Freeland)

1980 B.S., Magna cum laude, Biology and Environmental Studies. Wright State University, Dayton, OH.



Professional Experience

2001-present Associate Professor, Department of Ecology (previously Biology), Montana State University
1996-2001 Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Montana State University
1992-1996 Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
1991-1992 Research Associate, University of Washington.
1990-1991 Postdoctoral Associate, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
1989-1990 Postdoctoral Associate, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and Visiting Fellow, Cornell University.
1989 Postdoctoral Associate, The Ohio State University and Ohio Cooperative Wildlife and Fishery Unit.
1988-85 Research Associate, The Ohio State University. (Dissertation research).
1986  Research Assistant, The Ohio State University.

1996-present Montana State University, Stream Ecology, Biology of Organisms, Graduate Seminar, Freshwater Invertebrates (Graduate), Community Ecology (graduate)
1992-1996 Indiana University of Pennsylvania, General Biology, Animal Biology, Undergraduate and Graduate Seminars in Biology, Advanced Techniques in Stream Ecology (Graduate)
1995-96 Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Aquatic Ecology (summer 1995), Behavioral Ecology (summer 1996)
1994  Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, Aquatic Ecology (summer)
1989 Lecturer, The Ohio State University, Department of Zoology and F. T. Stone Laboratory.  Graduate course in Invertebrate Zoology.
1982-1989 Teaching Associate, The Ohio State University. Courses: Introductory Biology, General Zoology, Ecology, Ethology, Theoretical Ecology, and Evolution.
1980-1982 Teaching Assistant, Wright State University.  Courses: General Biology, Ecology, Animal  Physiology, Developmental Biology, and Invertebrate Zoology.




Koel, T. M., D. L. Mahony, K. L. Kinnan, C. Rasmussen, C. J. Hudson, S. Murcia, and B.L. Kerans.  Initial investigations of Myxobolus cerebralis in native cutthroat trout of the Yellowstone Lake Ecosystem.  In Press, Journal of Aquatic Animal Health.
Krueger, R. C., B. L. Kerans, C. Rasmussen and E. R. Vincent. 2006.  Correlations among environmental features, Myxobolus cerebralis infection prevalence in oligochaetes, and salmonid infection risk in the Madison River, Montana. In Press,  Ecological Applications.
 Steinbach Elwell, L. C., B. L. Kerans, C. Rasmussen, and J. R. Winton.  2006.  Interactions among two strains of Tubifex tubifex (Oligochaeta: Tubificidae) and Myxobolus cerebralis (Myxozoa).  In Press,  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Bartholomew, J. L., B. L. Kerans, R. P. Hedrick, S. McDiarmid and J. R. Winton. 2005. A risk assessment based approach for the management of whirling disease.   Review in Fisheries Science, 13:205-230.
Kerans, B. L., R. I. Stevens and J. C. Lemmon.  2005. Water temperature affects a host parasite interaction: Tubifex tubifex and Myxobolus cerebralisJournal of Aquatic Animal Health 17:216-221
Kerans, B. L., M. F. Dybdahl, M. M. Gangloff and J. E. Jannot. 2005Potamopyrgus antipodarum: distribution, density, and effects on native macroinvertebrate assemblages in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.   Journal of the North American Benthological Society 24: 123-138
Kerans, B. L., C. Rasmussen,  R. Stevens, A. E. Colwell and J. R.Winton. 2004.  Differential propagation of the metazoan parasite Myxobolus cerebralis by Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri, Ilyodrilus templetoni, and genetically distinct strains of Tubifex tubifex Journal of Parasitology 90: 1366-1373.
Jannot, J. E. and B. L. Kerans. 2003. Body size, sexual dimorphism and Rensch’s rule in adult hydropsychid caddisflies. Canadian Journal of Zoology 81: 1956-1964.
Dwyer, W. P., B. L. Kerans and M. M. Gangloff. 2003. Effect of acute exposure to chlorine, copper sulfate, and heat on the survival of New Zealand mud snails. Intermountain Journal of Sciences 9: 53-58. Downing, D. C., T. E. McMahon, B. L. Kerans and E. R. Vincent.  2002.  Relation of spawning and rearing life history of rainbow trout and susceptibility to Myxobolus cerebralis infection in the Madison River, Montana.  Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 14: 191-203.  (Nominated for “Best Paper” in the 2002 Volume of the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health)
Kerans, B. L. and A. V. Zale. 2002. The ecology of Myxobolus cerebralis.  Pages 145-166 in J. L. Bartholomew and J. C. Wilson, editors.  Whirling disease: reviews and current topics.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 29, Bethesada, Maryland.
Lemmon, J.C. and B.L. Kerans. 2001. Extraction of whirling disease myxospores from sediments using the plankton centrifuge and sodium hexametaphosphate.   Intermountain Journal of Science 7: 57-62.
Stevens, R., B.L. Kerans, J.C. Lemmon and C. Rasmussen. 2001. The effects of Myxobolus cerebralis myxospore dose on triactinomyxon production and biology of Tubifex tubifex from two geographic regions.  Journal of Parasitology 82: 315-321.
Kerans, B. L., P. L. Chesson, and R. A. Stein. 2000.  Assessing density-dependent dispersal in stream insects: an example using caddisfly larvae.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57: 1190-1199.
Genito, D. and B. L. Kerans. 1999.  Effects of a diverse prey assemblage on stonefly feeding.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 14: 219 - 231.
Rousch, J.M., T.W Simmons, B.L. Kerans and B. P. Smith. 1997. Relative acute effects of low pH and high iron on the hatching and survival of the water mite, Arrenurus manubriator, and aquatic insect, Chironomus riparius.  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 16: 2144-2150.
Kerans, B. L. 1996.  The influence of periphyton and rock texture on the diel drift periodicity of a hydropsychid caddisfly.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 11: 163-169.
Kerans, B. L., B. L. Peckarsky and C. Anderson. 1995. Estimates of mayfly mortality: is stonefly predation a significant source?  Oikos 74: 315-323.
Kerans, B. L., S. A. Ahlstedt, T. A. McDonough, F.J. Sagona and C.F. Saylor. 1995. Stream bioassessment and contrasting land uses in the Tennessee Valley.  Pages 135-144, in K. Steele (ed.), Animal Waste and the Land-Water Interface.  Lewis Publishers, New York.
Kerans, B. L. and J. R. Karr. 1994. A benthic index of biotic integrity (B-IBI) for rivers of the Tennessee Valley.  Ecological Applications 4:768-785.
Kerans, B. L., J. R. Karr and S. A. Ahlstedt. 1992. Aquatic invertebrate assemblages: spatial and temporal differences among sampling protocols.  Journal of the North American Benthological Society 11: 377-390.
Karr, J. R. and B. L. Kerans. 1992. Components of biological integrity:  their definition and use in development of an invertebrate IBI.  Pages 1-16 in W. S. Davis and T. P. Simon (eds.), Proceedings of the 1991 Midwest Pollution Control Biologists meeting.  U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois. EPA-905/R-92/003.
Kerans, B. L. 1992.  Season and body size influence movement of hydropsychid caddisfly larvae.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 49: 259-265.
Reeve, J. D., B. L. Kerans, and P. L. Chesson. 1989.  Combining different forms of parasitoid aggregation: effects on stability and patterns of parasitism.  Oikos 56: 233-239.


Manuscripts in Review

Steinbach Elwell, L.C., Kerans B. L., and Horn J.Z.  Host-parasite interactions mediated by a competitor. Submitted to Oecologia.
Cada, C. A. and B. L. Kerans.  Community response to Potamopyrgus antipodarum invasion.   Submitted to Biological Invasions.
S. Murcia, B. L. Kerans, T. Koel, E. MacConnell.  Myxobolus cerebralis infection severity in Yellowstone cutthroat trout: assessment at 90 and 150 days after field exposures.  Submitted to Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.

Fellowships, Grants, and Contracts

Funds listed for 2004 through 2006 only

National Partnership on Management of Wild and Native Cold Water Fisheries.  The viability of Myxobolus cerebralis myxospores after passage through the alimentary canal of avian piscivores in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Co-principal investigator with T. Koel, $59,900, 5/1/2005-12/31/2006.

National Partnership on Management of Wild and Native Cold Water Fisheries.  Whirling disease risk at multiple spatial scales.  Co-principal investigator with E. R. Vincent, $74,345, 5/1/2005-12/31/2006

National Partnership on Management of Wild and Native Cold Water Fisheries. Myxobolus cerebralis risk to Yellowstone cutthroat trout related to variation in T. tubifex abundance and susceptibility. $72,483, 5/1/2005-12/31/2006 with request for 3 years of comparable funding.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Effects of rapid river-stage fluctuations on the survivorship of Taylorconcha serpenticola, the threatened Bliss Rapid Snail of the Snake River, ID.  $150,000, 1/1/2005-8/31/2007.

National Partnership on Management of Wild and Native Cold Water Fisheries. Myxobolus cerebralis in a pristine environment: the role of American white pelicans as a dispersal vector in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Co-principal investigator with T. Koel. $35,219, 5/28/2004-12/31/2005.

National Partnership on Management of Wild and Native Cold Water Fisheries.  Use of high resolution thermal imagery as a tool to locate Tubifex tubifex in Pelican Creek, a Myxobolus cerebralis positive stream in Yellowstone National Park. Co-principal investigator with T. Koel.  $67,378, 5/28/2004-12/31/2005.

National Partnership on Management of Wild and Native Cold Water Fisheries.  Evaluation of increased survival of young-of-the-year wild rainbow trout in the upper Madison River in the face of increased whirling disease infection intensities in wild rainbow trout spawning areas.  Co-principal investigator with P. T. Clancey and J. L. Bagdanov, $23,911, 5/28/2004-12/31/2005.

National Science Foundation/EPScOR Graduate Fellowship.  The oligochaete host as a modulator of whirling disease in salmonids: ecology and molecular biology of Tubifex tubifex. Co-principal investigator with C. Rasmussen, J. R. Winton and T. M. Koel. $40,000. 5/15/2004-5/15/2006

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Courses Taught

BIOL 101 - Biology of Organisms (Fall)
BIOL 439 - Stream Ecology (Fall)
BIOL 580 - Community Ecology  (Spring, alternate years)

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Dr. Billie L. Kerans
Montana State University; Ecology Department; 310 Lewis Hall; Bozeman, MT 59717

Phone : 406-994-3725  Fax: 406-994-3190  e-mail: bkerans@montana.edu