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Thomas Bustamante

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Student  •  Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Advisor : Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong

Research Interests: Freshwater ecology, life history, animal behavior, response to anthropogenic habitat change  •  LinkedIn

IGC Fellow

Thomas Bustamante is a Ph.D. student in the department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation with Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong. He studies how native stream fish respond to anthropogenically-induced habitat change, particularly urbanization. Thomas received his B.S. in biology from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. During his time there, he worked with Dr. Bradley Lamphere to investigate how the life history of bluegill responds to stream impoundment. He also ran two separate studies on microplastics in waterfowl and soil with Dr. Andrew Dolby and Dr. Tyler Frankel. In addition to his undergraduate studies at Mary Washington, Thomas was also accepted to an REU program at Eastern Kentucky University where he worked with Dr. Sherry Harrel to investigate how freshwater fish communities are impacted by organic debris dams.

This broad background in freshwater ecology and responses to anthropogenic stressors led Thomas to pursue work at Virginia Tech with Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong. Thomas entered Virginia Tech as a graduate student, but after he won the NSF GRFP, he switched to a Ph.D. track. His work currently involves understanding how different environmental factors impact the nest success of the bluehead chub (Nocomis leptocephalus), a local species of nesting fish and a keystone species. His goal with this work is to gain a deeper understanding of how this species will respond to future habitat change. He hopes that the IGC program will allow him to find interdisciplinary collaborators that share his research interests as well as further prepare him for a career in academia as a professor.