Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Jason A DeBoer
Title: Large River Fisheries Ecologist
Mailing address:
704 N Schrader Ave
Havana, IL 62644
Office address:
Address mailcode:
Office room:
Phone: 309-543-6000
Fax: 309-543-2105


My research interests include Applied fish ecology, Native species restoration and conservation, Invasive species control, Predator-prey interactions, and Life-history expression.

My primary current research involves boat electrofishing surveys to monitor fish assemblages in the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.  This research has been ongoing since the late 1950's. 

I am a co-Principle Investigator on research that involves understanding the underlying factors of a rapid biological invasion and how these can be exploited to limit the speed and spread of an invasion, which is key to enhancing and expanding the IDNR-led response and control efforts as well as expanding understanding of bigheaded carp effects and constraints. 

I am also the Principle Investigator on interdisciplinary research that involves investigating potential changes in diversity, diet, and trophic status of fish feeding guilds as influenced by important ecological drivers, i.e., changes in water quality, invasive species, and differences in fluvial geomorphology.  

Message to students:

International Postgraduate Research Award Recipient, University of New England, 2016-2019

Prairie Rivers Network's Outstanding Public Servant Award for 2018, awarded to INHS Rivers Team

Best Professional Presentation, 2018 annual meeting.  Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society

Editor’s Choice selection (co-author) for: Ecological recovery of a river fish assemblage following the implementation of the Clean Water Act.  BioScience 67:957-970.

Othmer Fellowship Recipient, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2009-2011 

Graduate Dean’s Citation for Excellence, Grand Valley State University, 2008 – Outstanding Thesis in Biology

Co-author of Best Poster Presentation, Joint Conference of the Illinois Lakes Management Association and Illinois American Fisheries Society, 2016.

Mentored author of Best Poster Presentation, Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences (UCARE) Conference, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2011.

Professional affiliations:

American Fisheries Society

North American Native Fishes Association

Mississippi River Research Consortium

Selected publications:

DeBoer, J. A., M. C. Thoms, M. D. Delong, M. E. Parsons, and A. F. Casper.  2020.  Spatial heterogeneity of ecosystem function in an “Anthropocene” river system.  Anthropocene.

Whitten, A. L., J. A. DeBoer, L. E. Solomon, A K. Fritts, M. W. Fritts, R. M. Pendleton, T. D. Van Middlesworth, and A. F. Casper.  In press.  Spatial variation in bluegill population demographics in a highly modified large river system.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology.

DeBoer, J. A., M. C. Thoms, A. F. Casper, and M. D. Delong.  2019The response of fish diversity in a highly modified large river system to multiple anthropogenic stressors.  Biogeosciences DOI: 10.1029/2018JG004930.

DeBoer, J. A., A. M. Anderson, and A. F. Casper.  2018.  Multi-trophic response to invasive silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) in a large floodplain river.  Freshwater Biology 63:597–611.

VonBank, J. A., J. A. DeBoer, A. F. Casper, and H. M. Hagy.  2018.  Ichthyochory in a temperate river system by common carp (Cyprinus carpio).  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 33:83­–96.

Love, S. A., N. J. Lederman, R. L. Haun, J. A. DeBoer, and A. F. Casper.  2018.  Does aquatic invasive species removal benefit native fish? The response of gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) to commercial harvest of bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and silver carp (H. molitrix).   Hydrobiologia 817:403-412.

Gibson-Reinemer, D. K., R. A. Sparks, J. A. DeBoer, M. W. Fritts, A. F. Casper, and J. H. Chick.  2017.  Ecological recovery of a river fish assemblage following the implementation of the Clean Water Act.  BioScience 67: 957-970.

*Selected as Editor’s Choice


Parker, J. L., M. W. Fritts, and J. A. DeBoer.  2018.  Length-weight relationships for small Midwestern US fishes.  Journal of Applied Ichthyology 34:1081–1083.


Fritts, M. W., A. K. Fritts, R. M. Pendleton, T. D. VanMiddlesworth, L. E. Solomon, J. A. DeBoer, and A. F. Casper.  2018.  Survey of intersex (testicular oocytes) in black crappie collected from the Illinois River Waterway.  Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 9(2):659–665.


Fritts, M. W., J. A. DeBoer, D. K. Gibson-Reinemer, B. J. Lubinski, M. A. McClelland, and A. F. Casper. 2017.  Over a half-century of fish community monitoring in Illinois’ large rivers:  the evolution of methods used by the Illinois Natural History Survey’s Long-term Survey and Assessment of Large-River Fishes in Illinois Monitoring Program.  Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 41(1): 1–18.

Fritts, A. K., M. W. Fritts, W. R. Haag, J. A. DeBoer, and A. F. Casper.  2017.  Freshwater mussel shells (Unionidae) chronicle changes in a North American river over the past 1000 years.  Science of the Total Environment 575: 199-206.

Gibson-Reinemer, D. K., D. R. Stewart, A. F. Casper, M. W. Fritts, and J. A. DeBoer.  2016.  Estimating the effects of environmental variables and gear type on the detection and occupancy of large river fishes in a standardized sampling program using multi-season Bayesian mixture models.  North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36:1445-1456.

Fritts, M. W., J. A. DeBoer, A. K. Fritts, K. A. Kellock, R. B. Bringolf, and A. F. Casper.  2016.  Survey of intersex occurrence in Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) from the Upper Illinois River Waterway.  American Midland Naturalist 176 (1), 158-165.

DeBoer, J. A., C. M. Webber, T. A. Dixon, and K. L. Pope.  2016.  The influence of a severe reservoir drawdown on springtime zooplankton and larval fish assemblages in Red Willow Reservoir, Nebraska.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 31:131-146.  DOI:10.1080/02705060.2015.1055312.

DeBoer, J. A. and K. L. Pope.  2015.  Factors influencing recruitment of walleye and white bass to three distinct early ontogenetic stages.  Ecology of Freshwater Fish.  DOI: 10.1111/eff.12229.

DeBoer, J. A., S. A. Ogren, J. M. Holtgren, and E. B. Snyder2015Movement and habitat use by mottled sculpin in a sand-dominated 1st-order stream following habitat restoration.  American Midland Naturalist 173:335-345.

DeBoer, J. A., J. J. Fontaine, C. J. Chizinski, and K. L. Pope.  2015.  Counterintuitive life-history expression in a highly variable environmentGreat Plains Research 25:25-38.

DeBoer, J. A., K. L. Pope, and K. D. Koupal.  2013.  Environmental factors regulating the recruitment of walleye Sander vitreus and white bass Morone chrysops in irrigation reservoirs.  Ecology of Freshwater Fish 22:43-54.

Martin,D. L., B. M. Pracheil, J. A. DeBoer, G. R. Wilde, and K. L. Pope.  2012.  Using the internet to understand angler behavior in the information age.  Fisheries 37:458-463.

DeBoer, J. A., S. A. Ogren, J. M. Holtgren, and E. B. Snyder.  2011.  A 100-year flood in a low-gradient Michigan stream: response of the resident and non-resident fish assemblages.  American Midland Naturalist 166:446-452.

INHS Publink:
Program affiliates:
Professional society involvement and activities:

American Fisheries Society

- Certified Fisheries Professional (2017-present)

- Illinois state representative to Walleye Technical Committee (2015-present)

- Co-editor of Illinois AFS quarterly newsletter (2015-present)

- Member of Illinois AFS Continuing Education Committee (2015-present)

- Nebraska state representative to Walleye (2009-2012) and Centrarchid (2009-2011) Technical Committees

- Past president of Cornhusker Student Sub-Unit (2011-2012)

- President of Cornhusker Student Sub-Unit (2010-2011)

- Member of Walleye (2009-present) and Centrarchid (2009-2012) Technical Committees

- Member of Early Life-History Section (2009-2012)


Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society (2008)


Doctor of Philosophy

University of New England, 2016 - current

Major: Interdisciplinary River Science

Advisor: Dr. Martin C. Thoms

Thesis Title: The character and resilience of an Anthropocene River


Master of Science

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2009 – 2013 

Major: Natural Resource Sciences

Advisor: Dr. Kevin L. Pope

Thesis Title:  Recruitment of walleye (Sander vitreus) and white bass (Morone chrysops) in irrigation reservoirs


Master of Science

Grand Valley State University, 2006 – 2008

Major: Biology, emphasis in Fisheries

Advisor: Dr. Eric B. Snyder

Thesis Title:  Community response to habitat restoration in Bear and Sickle Creeks, with emphasis on mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi) in Sickle Creek


Bachelor of Science

Grand Valley State University, 1996-2001

Major: Natural Resource Management

Minor: Engineering Science

Lab name: Lab research: Lab publications: Lab current projects: jadeboer

Illinois Natural History Survey

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