Craig N. Spencer


Dr. Craig Spencer

Biology Department

Augustana College
2001 S Summit Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD  57197
Phone: 605.274.4716
Toll-Free: 800.727.2844 ext.4716
Fax: 605.274.4718





Ph.D., M.S., Michigan State University

B.A., Colby College, Waterville, Maine


Professor Spencer spends every summer conducting research at the Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana. Students have an opportunity to get involved with this research in Montana.


Brent Loken

Brent Loken (Augustana student) collecting samples from Flathead Lake, Montana.


Ongoing research projects include:

1. Effects of Timber Harvest on Water Quality in Lakes and Streams in NW Montana. We are studying the impact of past and present logging activities by analyzing data collected from lake sediment cores. Using various techniques in the field of paleolimnology, we are evaluating the impacts of past land-use activities which are often well-preserved in the historical record contained in the lake sediments.

2. Impacts of Wildfire on Streams In Glacier National Park, Montana. We are involved in a long-term study of a number of streams located in watersheds burned by a large wildfire in 1988. The study, which began in 1988 during the fire, includes research on the effects of fire on water chemistry, and stream biota, including fish, invertebrates, and the plant community.


Kristin Odney

Kristin Odney (Augie student) sorting aquatic insects from a fire-impacted stream in Glacier National Park.


3. Impacts of Exotic Species Introductions on Aquatic Ecosystems. Accidental and purposeful introductions of a wide variety of non-native species have had profound impacts of the food webs of many lake ecosystems. In this research, we are studying the impacts of some of these introductions in NW. Montana.


Journal photo

Journal photo from our article, showing bald eagles perched in a tree along McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park.



Craig Spencer and assistant

Craig Spencer and assistant collecting fish from Anaconda Creek in Glacier National Park.


Selected Publications (Augustana students in italics)

Spencer, C.N., S.L. Matzner, J. Smalley, M. Bukrey, J. Onberg, M. Chapman, and M. Steck. 2009. Forest Expansion and Soil Carbon Changes in the Loess Hills of Eastern South Dakota. American Midlands Naturalist. 161: 273-285.

Spencer, C.N., K.O. Gabel, F.R. Hauer. 2003. Wildfire effects on stream food webs and nutrient dynamics in Glacier National Park, USA. Forest Ecology & Management 178:141-153.

Steck, M. and C. Spencer. 2003. Battle of Newton Hills: forests vs. native prairies. South Dakota Conservation Digest 70:18-21.

Munkvold, J., C. Spencer, L. Likness, S. Cody, and M. Chapman. 2001. Determination of pheasant diet and habitat usage in South Dakota via stable isotope analysis. Proc. S.D. Acad. Sci. 80:119-128.

Spencer, C. N., D. S. Potter, R. T. Bukantis, and J. A. Stanford. 1999. Impact of predation by Mysis relicta on zooplankton in Flathead Lake, Montana, USA. Journal of Plankton Research 21:51-64.

Hauer, F. R., and C. N. Spencer. 1998. Phosphorus and nitrogen dynamics in streams associated with wildfire: A study of immediate and longterm effects. Int. J. of Wildland Fire 8(4):183-198.

Spencer, C.N. and B. Ellis. 1998. Role of nutrients and zooplankton in regulation of phytoplankton in Flathead Lake (Montana, U.S.A.), a large oligotrophic lake. Freshwater Biology 39:755-763.

Munce, T., K. Seifert, and C.N. Spencer. 1998. Comparative energy flow to the fish community in a prairie system and a forested stream using growth rate and stable isotope analysis. Proc. S.D. Acad. Sci. 77:29-40.

Spencer, C.N., and C. L. Schelske. 1998. Impact of timber harvest on sediment deposition in surface waters in NW, Montana over the last 150 years: a paleolimnological study. Pages 187-201 in M. K. Brewin and D. M. A. Monita, tech. coords, Forest and Fish Conference: Land management practices affecting aquatic ecosystems. May 1-4, 1996, Calgary, Alberta. Nat. Resour. Can., Can. For. Serv., North For. Cent., Edmonton, Alberta. Inf. Rep. NOR-X-356.

Spencer, C.N., G. Warkenthien, S.F. Lehtinen, E.A. Ring, and C.R. Robbins. 1997. Impacts of the John Morrell meat packing plant on macroinvertebrates in the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Proc. S.D. Acad. Sci. 76:21-36.

Loken, B., C.N. Spencer, and W.O. Granath. 1995. Prevalance and transmission of cercariae causing schistosome dermatitis (Swimmer;s Itch) in Flathead Lake, Montana. Journal of Parasitology. 81: 646-649.

Spencer, C.N., and B. Loken. 1993. Scratching for answers about Swimmer's Itch in Flathead Lake. Montana Outdoors 24, 4:24-26.

Spencer, C.N., B. R. McClelland, and J.A. Stanford. 1991. Shrimp introduction, salmon collapse, and eagle displacement: cascading interactions in the food web of a large aquatic ecosystem. BioScience 41:14-21.


Presentations at Scientific Meetings (Augustana students in italics)

Pabst, K., H. Underwood, Craig Spencer, and Don Ohlen. 2005. Use of Remote Sensing Technology to Characterize Re-growth of Vegetation Following Forest Fires in Glacier National Park, Montana. SD Academy of Science, annual meeting. Sioux Falls, SD.

Spencer, C.N., J. Smalley and M. Bukrey. 2004. Loss of Native Tall-Grass Prairie Resulting from Agricultural Development, Forest Encroachment, and Exotic Species Invasions. Dakota Conference on the Northern Plans. Sioux Falls, SD.

Bukrey, M.J.,J.J. Smalley, and C.N. Spencer. 2003. Use of remote sensing to document timber harvest activity and other land cover changes in northwestern Montana. SD Academy of Science, annual meeting. Rapid City, SD.

Spencer, C.N. K.O. Gabel, and F.R. Hauer. 2002. Wildfire Effects on Stream Food Webs and Nutrient Dynamics in Glacier National Park, U.S.A.. U.S. Forest Service Conference on Forest Fires and Aquatic Ecosystems. Boise, Idaho.

Smalley, J.J., M.J. Bukrey, and C.N. Spencer. 2002. Invasion of Tallgrass Prairie by Deciduous Forest in Newton Hills State Park in Southeastern South Dakota. SD Academy of Science, annual meeting. Sioux Falls, SD.

Holste, E, L. Luense. and C.N. Spencer. 2002. Use of aquatic insects as bioindicators of water quality in the Big Sioux River. Undergraduate Student Research Poster Session, NSF-Epscor, State Capitol Rotunda, Pierre, SD.

Munkvold, J.L. Likness, S. Cody, M. Chapman, and C. N. Spencer. 2001. Foraging ecology of ring-necked pheasants recorded in the stable isotope signature of feathers. SD Academy of Science, annual meeting. Vermillion, SD.

Hanson, K. and C.N. Spencer. 1999. Ecological Impacts of Timber Harvest in Montana: An Interdisciplinary Study involving Paleolimnology, Satellite Imagery, and Mules. National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Missoula, MT.

Burke, C., K. Solberg, and C.N. Spencer. 1999.Use of satellite imagery to document to deforestation in NW Montana. Student Research Poster Session, SD NSF-Epscor, State Capitol Rotunda, Pierre, SD February, 1999.

Munce, T., K. Seifert, and C.N. Spencer. 1998. Comparative energy flow to the fish community in a prairie stream and a forested stream using growth rate and stable isotope analysis. SD Academy of Science annual meeting. Spearfish, SD.

Warkenthien, G., E. Ring, C. Robbins, S. Lehtinene, and and C.N. Spencer.1997. Impacts of the John Morrell Meat packing plant on water quality in the Big Sioux River in South Dakota. SD Academy of Science. Annual meeting., Aberdeen, SD. and SD legislators Research Symp. Pierre SD.