Academic career

2017-Current: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geography Department, Loughborough University
2016-2017: Research Associate, Biology Department., Trent University
2011-2016: PhD, Environmental and Life-Sciences Department, Trent University
2008-2011: MS, Biology Department, University of Arkansas
2002-2007: BS, Biology Department, University of Arkansas- Fort Smith

Professional responsibilities

2017: Associate Editor, Ratios Matter Newsletter

Prizes and awards

2002-2006: Chancellors Leadership Council Scholarship
2011-2014: Ph.D. Deans Scholarship
2014-2016: Ontario Graduate Scholarship

At its core, Clay's work involves studying elemental variation in nature. He is specifically interested in examining the effects of environmental nutrient supplies on organismal physiology, ecology, and evolution using concepts from the theory of ecological stoichiometry. As elemental dynamics are governed by the laws of mass balance, stoichiometric principles can be used to make and test predictions concerning the effects of nutrient-limitation (or enrichment) across biological scales. By working within this framework, Clay hopes to generate new theoretical insights and contribute towards a more rigorous understanding of the factors influencing the flows of elements through ecosystems and food webs.

Clay has a background working in lakes and streams where he has studied stoichiometric variability in some of the most common elemental building blocks (C, N, P, and Ca). Now, he is excited to extend this list to include the ~25 elements used to construct biological systems by joining the DUSTY project, headed by Professors John Anderson and Jo Bullard, which is focused on examining the effects of glacial dust deposition on lake ecosystems in southwestern Greenland.

  • Prater, C., Frost, P.C., Howell, T.E., Watson, S.B., Zastepa, A., King, S.S.E., Vogt, R.J., & Xenopoulos, M.A. In Press. Patterns in C:N:P stoichiometry across the Lake Erie watershed from tributaries to its outflow. Limnology and Oceanography: Headwaters to Oceans Special Issue.
  • Wagner, N.D., Prater, C., & Frost, P.C. 2017. Dynamic responses of phosphorus metabolism to acute and chronic dietary phosphorus-limitation in Daphnia. Frontiers in Environmental Science: Progress in Ecological Stoichiometry Special Issue 5(36):1-10. DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2017.00036
  • Prater, C.,Wagner, N.D., & Frost, P.C. 2017. Interactive effects of genotype and food quality on aquatic consumer stoichiometry and life-history. Ecology 98(5):1399-1408. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1795
  • Prater, C.,Wagner, N.D., & Frost, P.C. 2016. Effects of calcium and phosphorus limitation on the ecophysiology of Daphnia. Limnology and Oceanography 61(1):268-278. DOI: 10.1002/lno.10208
  • Yamamichi, M., Meunier, C.L., Peace, A., Prater, C., & Rúa, M.A. 2015. Rapid evolution of a consumer stoichiometric trait destabilizes consumer-producer dynamics. Oikos124(7):960-969. DOI: 10.1111/oik.02388
  • Prater, C., Evans-White, M.A., & Norman, E.J. 2015. Relationships among nutrient enrichment, detritus quality and quantity, and large-bodied shredding insect community structure. Hydrobiologia 753(1):219-232. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-015-2208-2 
  • Scott, E.E., Prater, C.,Norman, E., Baker, B.C., Evans-White, M.A., & Scott, J.T. 2013. Leaf-litter stoichiometry is affected by streamwater phosphorus concentrations and litter type. Freshwater Biology 32(3):753-761. DOI: 10.1899/12-215.1