Kevin R. Bestgen, Ph.D.

Director and Research Associate

Larval Fish Laboratory
Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
Office: (970)491-1848
FAX: (970)491-5091


B.A. Biology, 1981, St. Cloud State University, MN
M.S. Fishery and Wildlife Biology, 1985, Colorado State Univ.
Ph.D. Fishery and Wildlife Biology, 1997, Colorado State Univ.

Professional Experience

1997-Present.  Director and Research Scientist, Larval Fish Laboratory, Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University.

1989-1997.  Research Associate, Larval Fish Laboratory, and, Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University.  Assistant Director, Larval Fish Laboratory, May 1995-June 1997.

1986-1989.  Research Associate/Associate Curator of Fishes, Museum of Southwestern Biology, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico.

1982-1985.  Biologist.  Contractor with U. S. Bureau of Reclamation,  Arizona Fish and Game Department, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fort Collins, and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Research Interests

I  emphasize research  topics that are at the interface of aquatic ecology and management.  My main areas of interest include fish ecology, ichthyology, and conservation biology.  I am also proficient in experimental design and data analysis.  A main theme of my work is understanding spatial and temporal changes in the distribution and abundance of stream fishes in response to disruption of natural discharge and temperature patterns and to establishment of non-indigenous species.  I employ both laboratory and field approaches in this research and attempt to integrate results with conceptual or mechanistic ecological models.  This approach often yields the strongest inference about large-scale ecological problems especially when most field data are derived from observational studies or unreplicated experiments.  I also participate in six different monitoring studies that are designed to assess long-term trends in status of aquatic biota.   The main goal of my research is to obtain reliable scientific information and produce defensible results that have a lasting influence on ecology and management of natural resources.  Examples of recent publications, reports, and talks at professional meetings are listed below.


My teaching contributions to the Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology have consisted of guest lectures in Ichthyology FW 300, Fishery Science FW 401, Stream Fish Ecology and Management FW 540, and presentations in seminars.  I have also taught the FW 301, the laboratory portion of Ichthyology, to 47 students.  Students also obtain knowledge through work experience gained at the LFL.  I routinely involve three to six undergraduate students per year in a field project that monitors Front Range stream fish assemblages and hire another two to six students per year for summer field work or laboratory research projects.  An additional two to twelve work study students are hired to support Larval Fish Laboratory research and service activities each year.  In spring 1999, myself, Dr. Timothy Patton, and Mr. Thomas P. Nesler co-taught a Native Fish Workshop, as a continuing education contribution to members of the Colorado/Wyoming Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.  Most of the 53 participants were employed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, or federal natural resource agencies.  Distribution, status, and monitoring of fishes in Colorado and Wyoming were the main topics.  I have also participated in other LFL short courses that emphasized larval fish taxonomy and sampling.


My service activities include advising entities such as the cities of Boulder, Fort Collins, and Loveland, Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, the Colorado State University Heritage Program, the Colorado State University Environmental Learning Center, the Nature Conservancy, the Forest Service, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.  Most of this activity focused on recovery of stream fishes and ecosystems that have been degraded by man's activities.  I also peer review 10 or more journal submissions and technical reports generated by the Upper Colorado River Basin Recovery Program for Endangered Fishes.  I include LFL administration as service because much of this activity is uncompensated.  As Director, I am a supporting principal investigator for research projects funded through the LFL and am responsible for budgets, staff hiring and evaluation, and coordination and completion of projects.  In 2002, we have 15 active research projects in the LFL and 16 full or part-time employees.  I am also the LFL liaison between the primary LFL funding agencies and CSU.

Professional Affiliations

American Fisheries Society
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Desert Fishes Council
North American Benthological Society
Society of Conservation Biology
Southwestern Association of Naturalists
Certified SCUBA Diver (PADI)

Recent Publications, Presentations, and Reports


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 For questions or comments email to: . Meet other faculty members in the Fishery and Wildlife Biology Department of the College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University .

Last Modified 10/22/99