Ben LetcherBen Letcher

Adjunct Associate Professor

S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center


Phone: 413 522-9417

Primary Interests

Dr. Letcher’s area of research is population ecology. Particular interests include: the evolutionary ecology of stream salmonids, integrated modeling of population dynamics, development of models for forecasting effects on environmental change on population persistence, decision science applications, data visualization, and application of model results to management problems.

See for more details.

Current Projects

  • Development of interactive web applications to aid data and model understanding and to facilitate natural resource management []
  • Integration of survey data with capture-recapture models to characterize population trends across space
  • Estimates of lifetime fitness for stream-dwelling trout
  • Use of AI/ML to address natural resource issues
  • Understanding impact of drought on stream fishes


  • PhD, 1994, NC State, Zoology with statistics and modeling minor
  • M.S. 1990, URI School of Oceanography, biological option
  • B.S. 1985, Trinity College, Biology

Selected Recent Publications


Ebersole, J.L., Quiñones, R.M., Clements, S., and Letcher, B.H. 2020. Managing climate refugia for freshwater fishes under an expanding human footprint. Front. Ecol. Environ. 18(5): 271–280. doi:10.1002/fee.2206.

Kovach, R.P., Dunham, J.B., Al-Chokhachy, R., Snyder, C.D., Letcher, B.H., Young, J.A., Beever, E.A., Pederson, G.T., Lynch, A.J., Hitt, N.P., Konrad, C.P., Jaeger, K.L., Rea, A.H., Sepulveda, A.J., Lambert, P.M., Stoker, J., Giersch, J.J., and Muhlfeld, C.C. 2019. An Integrated Framework for Ecological Drought across Riverscapes of North America. Bioscience 69(6): 418–431. doi:10.1093/biosci/biz040.

Childress, E.S., Nislow, K.H., Whiteley, A.R., O’Donnell, M.J., and Letcher, B.H. 2019. Daily estimates reveal fine-scale temporal and spatial variation in fish survival across a stream network. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 76(8): 1446–1458. doi:10.1139/cjfas-2018-0191.

Letcher, B.H., Walker, J.D., O’Donnell, M.J., Whiteley, A.R., Nislow, K.H., and Coombs, J.A. 2018. Three Visualization Approaches for Communicating and Exploring Passive Integrated Transponder Tag Data. Fisheries 43(5): 241–248. doi:10.1002/fsh.10067.

Childress, E.S., and Letcher, B.H. 2017. Estimating thermal performance curves from repeated field observations. Ecology 98(5): 1377–1387. doi:10.1002/ecy.1801.

Whiteley, A.R., Coombs, J.A., O’Donnell, M.J., Nislow, K.H., and Letcher, B.H. 2017. Keeping things local: subpopulation Nb and Ne in a stream network with partial barriers to fish migration. Evol. Appl. (December 2016): 348–365. doi:10.1111/eva.12454.

Letcher, B.H., Hocking, D.J., O’Neil, K., Whiteley, A.R., Nislow, K.H., O’Donnell, M. 2016. A hierarchical model of daily stream temperature using air-water temperature synchronization, autocorrelation, and time lags. PeerJ

Kanno, Y, KC Pregler, NP Hitt, BH Letcher, DJ Hocking, and JEB Wofford, 2016. Seasonal temperature and precipitation regulate brook trout young-of-the-year abundance and population dynamics, Freshw. Biol., 61: 88-99.

Bassar, R., Letcher, B.H., Nislow, K.H., and Whiteley, A.R., 2016, Seasonal change in climate outpaces compensatory density-dependence in eastern brook trout, Global Change Biology, 22:577-593.

Kanno,Y., Letcher, B.H., Hitt, N., Boughton, D., Wofford, J., and Zipkin, E., 2015. Seasonal weather patterns drive population vital rates and persistence in a stream fish. Global change biology, 21:1856-1870.

Letcher, B.H., Schueller, P., Bassar, R., Nislow, K.H., Coombs, J.A., Sakrejda, K, Morrissey, M., Sigourney, S., Whiteley, A.R., O’Donnell, M. , Dubreuil, T., 2014. Robust estimates of environmental effects on population vital rates: an integrated capture-recapture model of seasonal brook trout growth, survival and movement in a stream network, Journal of Animal Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12308

Kanno, Y, B. H. Letcher, J Coombs, and K.H. Nislow, 2014.  Linking fish movement and reproductive history to assess habitat connectivity in a heterogeneous stream network, Freshw. Biol. 59(1): 142-154 doi:10.1111/fwb.12254

Letcher, B.H., K.H. Nislow, J.A. Coombs, M. J. O’Donnell, T. D. Dubreuil. 2007. Population response to habitat fragmentation in a stream-dwelling brook trout population. PLoS ONE 2(11): e1139. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001139.