MBI and Science

Science is the foundation
of everything we do.

Meet the Board Employment

MBI has been providing scientific research and education since 1997. We offer a unique skillset, bringing together sound science and education based on extensive expertise and experience. Many of the techniques broadly utilized in standardized aquatic resource monitoring across Ohio and the Midwest were pioneered by members of the MBI team. We bring this expertise to the field, to the classroom, and to all that we do.

Meet The Team

Cynthia Bauers

Cynthia Bauers

Cynthia Bauers has been working with MBI since June of 2013 as a Research Assistant. She participated in assessments in the Great Miami River Watershed, and assists with the subsequent field data organization. Cynthia began her environmental career as the Leading Creek Watershed Coordinator where she coordinated activities to produce a state endorsed watershed action plan and an Acid Mine Drainage Abatement and Treatment plan. More recently, she worked as a Senior Biologist in the private sector where her responsibilities included development of strategic assessment plans, conducting biological monitoring, and managing analysis of data to be used in preparation of Section 404/401 permit applications. She is a Level 3 Qualified Data Collector for QHEI and Macroinvertebrate Sample Collection. She received a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Ohio University.

Research Assistant
Allison Boehler

Allison Boehler

Allison Boehler has been the Administrative Manager of MBI since 2003. Her responsibilities include monitoring and managing the daily administrative, fiscal, human resource and operational needs of MBI, including the management and administrative tracking of all grants and projects. In addition, she oversees the development and operation of the MBI Education Program and is a key contributor in determining the strategic direction of MBI. She was most recently Administrative Manager and Conference Coordinator at the Ohio Biological Survey, and served as the first Education Director at the Ohio Wildlife Center. Her interests include environmental policy and general awareness, keeping current with environmental issues, and being involved in environmental and educational networking. She received a B.S. in Wildlife Management from The Ohio State University.

Administrative Manager
John Dattilo

John Dattilo

John Dattilo started with MBI in April of 2018 as a Fish Ecologist and Field Crew Leader. His current research includes the biological assessment of New England streams and rivers, surveying current fish assemblage structures, suitable habitat parameters, and water quality measurements as part of the US EPA National Rivers and Streams Assessment 2018-2019. His main interest includes identifying how biological indicators of ecosystem health are influenced by altered hydrology in connected river-reservoir systems. After graduating with a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Missouri, John worked on numerous fisheries projects as a research assistant for the Missouri Department of Conservation. More recently, John obtained his M.S. in Natural Resource Ecology and Management, where his studies focused on evaluating the effects of hydrology on non-game fish production.

Fish Ecologist
Emily Frechette

Emily Frechette

Emily Shade Frechette began as MBI’s Administrative Assistant in February 2018. With a strong background in customer service, Emily’s organizational skills and administrative experience make her a unique addition to our team. Emily volunteers with her husband to manage the Kossuth Street Community Garden. She also serves as President of the Central Ohio Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, one of the first conservation groups in the nation. Her main interests include learning about sustainable agricultural methods that build local economic and ecosystem health. She enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, canoeing, gardening, learning about plants, and using her drawing & painting skills to create art and educational materials. Emily graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University, earning her B.A. with a double major in English Creative Writing and Environmental Studies.

Administrative Assistant
Jack Freda

Jack Freda

Jack Freda has been a Macroinvertebrate Ecologist with MBI since early 2013. He is a certified Level 3 macroinvertebrate biologist, and conducts multiple macroinvertebrate surveys. He also assists and conducts training in field sampling, sample processing, and laboratory identification procedures and techniques. He is responsible for various technical report writing and editing tasks encompassing the range of biological, chemical, and physical habitat survey assessments conducted by MBI. He recently retired from the Ohio EPA with 38 years of experience specializing in macroinvertebrate sample collection and identification, and analysis of data from streams and rivers in Ohio and the Midwest. He assisted with the development of the Ohio EPA Invertebrate Community Index (ICI), and the VAP Program Level 3 macroinvertebrate training. He received a B.S. in Fisheries Management from Ohio State University.

Macroinvertebrate Ecologist
Vickie Gordon

Vickie Gordon

Vickie L. Gordon has been with MBI since 2004. She began her work with MBI as a Field Technician in 2004 and is currently employed full time as a Fish Ecologist and Quality Management and Safety Coordinator. Her current research includes evaluating the applicability of Tiered Aquatic Life Uses (TALU) in large rivers, and studying fish assemblages and water quality throughout Ohio. Her main interest is fish assemblages in large rivers and streams. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Management with a focus on Fisheries. While studying at Ohio State she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Ted Cavender at the Museum of Biodiversity Fish Division. After graduating she completed two internships as a fisheries technician with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO). She also worked two seasons as a creel clerk for the Ohio Division of Wildlife Fish Management Division in district five. Immediately prior to becoming full time with MBI, she was Site Coordinator for a private environmental firm with an office located in Louisville, KY. She is a Level 3 Fish and QHEI Qualified Data Collector and a Level 3 Water Chemistry Qualified Data Collector and Trainer.

Fish Ecologist
Martin Knapp

Martin Knapp

Martin Knapp has been an Aquatic Ecologist with MBI since 2007. He is the lead macroinvertebrate taxonomist and is currently involved with macroinvertebrate sampling, identification, and report writing for MBI projects including assessments in the Great Miami River, Mill Creek, and the Little Miami River basins in southwest Ohio, the Black River lacustuary, the Dupage River in Illinois, and the Elkhart River in Indiana. Past projects at MBI include statistical analyses of macroinvertebrate and diatom assemblages from wetlands, and macroinvertebrate identifications from Georgia streams. At Ohio EPA from 1981 until his retirement in 2007, he sampled macroinvertebrates throughout Ohio, performed bioassays on Ohio discharger effluents, coordinated biological and water quality assessments, wrote Water Quality Based Effluent Limit (WQBEL) reports, and developed a wetland invertebrate community index for Ohio’s wetland program. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from the University of Akron, an M.A.S. in statistics from Ohio State University, and is currently enrolled at Columbus State Community College pursuing continuing education.

Macroinvertebrate Ecologist
Mick Micacchion

Mick Micacchion

Mick Micacchion has been a Wetland Ecologist with MBI since 2011. He designs and conducts wetland assessments and surveys at the national, state and local level. He is an expert trainer in wetland assessment methods, and has been instrumental in the developing the wetlands component of the MBI Education Program. He retired from Ohio EPA in 2011 after 32 years of service. At Ohio EPA he was instrumental in developing Ohio’s nationally respected wetland program, including Ohio’s Wetland Water Quality Standard. He has played key roles in developing an Amphibian Index of Biotic Integrity (AmphIBI), a Vegetation Index of Biotic Integrity (VIBI), the Ohio Rapid Assessment Method (ORAM) for Wetlands, and has provided extensive training in these areas. He is an expert in wetland restoration and mitigation techniques, having monitored and reviewed hundreds of wetlands. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Wildlife Management from The Ohio State University.

Wetland Ecologist
Pete Precario

Pete Precario

Pete Precario has been the Executive Director of MBI since 2007. He is responsible for the overall management of the organization and for the development of MBI policies, procedures, and operations. He is an environmental attorney, and worked at the Ohio EPA as Chief of the Litigation Development Section. In that position he was responsible for Ohio EPA case management and for the development of many OEPA regulations. He has practiced law in Columbus, Ohio and has principally practiced environmental law involving matters across the State of Ohio. He was appointed by Governor Celeste to serve on the Environment Board of Review (now called the Environmental Review Appeals Commission) and served as Chairman. He has been involved in a number of commissions and advisory boards relating to OEPA management and the development of regulations and standards. He received a B.A. from the Ohio State University and a JD from the Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University.

Executive Director
Blair Prusha

Blair Prusha

Blair A. Prusha has been an aquatic ecologist with MBI since 2012, where he works as a GIS Specialist, Macroinvertebrate Taxonomist, and Field Crew Leader. He has been in the stream ecology field for 20 years, and is a Level 3 Qualified Data Collector for Macroinvertebrate Sample Collection. He previously worked in Washington state radio tracking migrating Chinook salmon in the Columbia River. In Nevada he worked on an electrofishing census of the Lahontan Cutthroat trout, and in Oregon he worked for the U.S. EPA assessing stream habitat. He worked in Fort Collins for Colorado State University’s Ecotoxicology Laboratory conducting stream mesocosm experiments and an extensive stream sampling survey along the Continental Divide. He also worked for the North Carolina DENR Biological Assessment Unit conducting macroinvertebrate surveys across the state. Most recently he was an intern at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in South Carolina conducting fish surveys of southeastern streams. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science from Allegheny College and a M.S. in Ecology from Colorado State University.

Macroinvertebrate Ecologist
Edward Rankin

Edward Rankin

Edward T. Rankin has been an Aquatic Ecologist with MBI since 2012, having worked on MBI projects since 2003. He is currently involved in developing an Integrated Priority System for addressing multiple point and nonpoint source impacts for the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC). Other current research includes: the effects of stressors on aquatic life in rivers, streams and watersheds; training on stream habitat assessment methods; development and application of biological criteria; and, derivation of biocriteria-based stressor targets and criteria for aquatic life. He was most recently a Senior Research Associate at the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University (OU). This followed 19 years as an Environmental Scientist at the Ohio EPA working on developing biological criteria, the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index, and other water assessment methods. Past projects include an EPA STAR grant on watershed classification and stressor identification and serving on the National Academy of Sciences and EPA Science Advisory Boards. While at OU he collaborated on numerous MBI projects including an examination of the sensitivity of Unionid mussels to ammonia and other stressors, studies on coal mining impaired watersheds in southeast Ohio and research on data from US EPA’s National Rivers and Stream surveys. He received a B.S. in Biology from St. Bonaventure University, and an M.S. in Zoology from The Ohio State University.

Aquatic Ecologist
Alex Roller-Knapp

Alex Roller-Knapp

Alexander Roller-Knapp has been with MBI since 2009. He began as a field technician and is now a Macroinvertebrate Ecologist, certified as a Level 3 Macroinvertebrate Qualified Data Collector who conducts field surveys. With 10 years of experience specializing in macroinvertebrate sample collection, he often leads work crews and assists with MBI training courses on sampling tecniques. His interests include organizing community education days. In 2017, he started a river clean up earth day event and organized an effort to remove tons of floating debris from the Olentangy River. He has an associate degree in Environmental Safety and Health as well as a Macroinvertebrate Level 3 Qualified Data Collection certification from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Macroinvertebrate Ecologist
Matt Sarver

Matt Sarver

Matt Sarver has been with MBI since 2013 and is currently employed as a Fish Ecologist and Field Crew Leader. He began with MBI as a Field Technician on the National Rivers and Streams Assessment and was promoted to Assistant Crew Leader on multiple projects in 2014. His current research includes conducting biological surveys in rivers and streams for the purpose of water quality assessment across the Midwest. His main interest includes fish assemblages in lotic systems and their correlation with water quality. Prior to employment at MBI, Matt worked as an intern with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency at their Groveport Field office. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology from the Ohio State University and is a Level 3 Qualified Data Collector for Stream Habitat Assessment - QHEI and Fish Community Biology in the state of Ohio.

Fish Ecologist
Roger Thoma

Roger Thoma

Roger F. Thoma has been an Aquatic Ecologist with MBI since 2008, having worked on MBI projects since 2004. He is currently involved in finishing a three-year study of the conservation status of eleven Virginia crayfish and the genetics of a Virginia crayfish species complex. Other current research activity includes the conservation status of seven Tennessee crayfish. He most recently worked as a Research Associate with the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University (OU), during which time he collaborated on numerous projects with MBI. This followed 22 years as an Environmental Scientist at the Ohio EPA working on developing biological criteria (IBI-fishes) and a Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index for Lake Erie shorelines, as well as other water quality assessment methods. Past projects include a statewide distributional survey of Indiana’s burrowing crayfish with emphasis on select ecological components, life history studies of four Appalachian crayfish species, and conservation studies of numerous Ohio crayfish species and the crayfish fauna of the Flushing Escarpment. From 1990-1991 he served as a biological expert with US EPA in Washington, DC. He received a B.S. in Fisheries Management from Ohio State University. He has discovered and described six new species of crayfish and is currently working on descriptions of numerous others he has discovered during his research with MBI.

Aquatic Ecologist
Chris Yoder

Chris Yoder

Chris O. Yoder has been the Research Director of MBI since 2001. He is involved in the development and application of biological assessments and biological criteria, including the development of methods for rivers and streams, wetlands, and lakes. He is presently involved in numerous projects that employ monitoring and assessment, environmental indicators, and biological assessment. He has conducted reviews of 24 state and 3 federal bioassessment programs and has advised EPA, states, municipalities, and watershed organizations about the development and implementation of biological criteria and tiered aquatic life uses (TALU). He was most recently a senior research associate at Ohio University’s Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs (2001-2006) and prior to that Manager of the Ecological Assessment Section at Ohio EPA (1989 – 2001) and supervisor and staff member since 1976. His 42 years of experience includes service on national, regional, and state working groups and committees dealing with monitoring and assessment, biological criteria, environmental indicators, temperature criteria, and water quality standards (WQS). He received a B.S. in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University, and a M.A. in Zoology from DePauw University.

Research Director