Ashley Kijowski

Wildlife Biologist

GSL Ecosystem Program – Utah Division of Wildlife Resources


I am a Wildlife Biologist at the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) within the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Here my duties are to develop research questions, prepare study design and conduct research in regards to the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. At GSLEP, we focus on managing the commercial brine shrimp fishery to ensure parity among harvesters and control the harvest to make certain the ecosystem needs are met. I began working at GSLEP in December of 2013. Before moving to Utah, I worked for the University of Wisconsin-Stout as a Crew Leader for an NSF funded grant aimed at studying the metacommunity theory in both permanent and ephemeral wetland habitats. I earned a BS from Illinois State University in Biology and Environmental Science and an MS from the University of South Dakota in Ecology with a focus on invertebrate community ecology and conservation.

Title: 20 Years of Managing and Conserving the Avian and Aquatic Communities of the Great Salt Lake

9:40am - Thursday, May 12th

Abstract: The Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) just celebrated its 20th anniversary. During this celebration, old photos and stories were shared among a diverse group of scientists and other stakeholders; these accounts demonstrated the commitment and dedication of those who have and continue to work on the Great Salt Lake (GSL). Before GSLEP and other scientists began to research this ecosystem it was thought that GSL was simple and the components of it were few, however the interactions among these components are complex and just beginning to be understood. During the first stages of GSLEP, biologists had to devise numerous scientific questions and plan study designs in order to make progress on learning about this mysterious salty lake. How will harvesting brine shrimp from GSL affect the birds that rely on them as a food source? What is the best way to manage the brine shrimp harvest? Is it possible to overharvest brine shrimp? Is it possible to underharvest brine shrimp? This talk will discuss the progress made by GSLEP and their collaborators, the importance of GSL and the current questions and ongoing research that are being conducted by members of GSLEP and their collaborators.