Joel Betts



MSc., Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University,B.S., Biology, Calvin College,B.A., International Development Studies, Calvin College

Joel Betts is a stream ecologist from Michigan who has focused his work on freshwater ecosystem and protected area conservation in Nicaragua, as well as ecosystem restoration in the northern US. In his current work, he is providing research and conservation support to indigenous-led conservation efforts in Mesoamerica, such as the Rama-Kriol action plan for Indio-Maíz. Since 2016 he has worked with Rama-Kriol communities and GWC in Nicaragua to assess impacts of the invasion of their rainforest territory by cattle ranchers on fishery and ecosystem health (The Rama-Kriol territory includes Indio-Maíz). Included in this have been his Fulbright research about the effects of deforestation on headwater stream organisms and their habitat, and research and an educational campaign on the illegal use of pesticides in fishing in the region (See his post about the pesticide fishing project  in English and Spanish on the GWC Blog). He is a passionate naturalist and conservationist, and plans to continue to support GWC’s efforts for conservation of forests (and the freshwater ecosystems they sustain), in partnership with local initiatives in Mesoamerica. A few other projects he has worked on in partnership with GWC are a legal manual for conservation of the Indio-Maíz and Bosawás biological reserves, a storymap about research on tapir poaching by the Baird's Tapir Survival Alliance, and a report on effective strategies to confront illegal cattle ranching in protected areas in Mesoamerica (publication forthcoming). He hopes to continue working in the region throughout his career.

Betts, J.T., Mendoza Espinosa, J. F., Dans, A.J., Jordan, C.A., Mayer, J.M., Urquhart, G.R.“Fishing with pesticides affects river fisheries and community health in the Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua” In revision. Submitted in 2020 to Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.,Betts, J.T., Urquhart, G.R., Román-Heracleo, J., Flores Mc.rea, J.C. “Deforestation degrades rain forest stream habitat and biodiversity over time in the Rama-Kriol indigenous territory, Southeast Nicaragua”. In revision. Submitted in 2020 to Hydrobiologia Special Issue “Neotropical stream fish ecology in a changing landscape".,Mahan, D.C., Betts, J.T., Nord, E. Van Dyke, F., Outcalt, J.M. “Responses of benthic macroinvertebrate communities to dam removal in the restoration of the Boardman River, northern Michigan, USA.” In revision. Submitted in 2020 to Restoration Ecology.,“Deforestation degrades rain forest stream habitat and biodiversity over time in the Rama-Kriol indigenous territory,           Southeast Nicaragua”. Master’s Thesis. Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.,“Fisheries crime on the agricultural frontier of Nicaragua: The context of fishing with pesticides”. Conference paper. 2018 US Student Fulbright Regional Enhancement Seminar, “Securing our Future through Sustainable and Inclusive   Development,” in Reñaca, Chile.