Aquatic Ecology Lab
Freshwater science to inform policy
We study aquatic ecosystems--almost exclusively inland freshwaters. We are particularly interested in the availability of three essential building blocks of life: phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon. We design field studies and perform experiments to help understand how altering levels of these elements in isolation and coupled with potential contaminants may cause detrimental and even irreversible damage to ecosystems in which we rely on for water, food, and recreation. Along the way, we make discoveries that contribute to our "textbook" understanding of our planet. In academic terms, we span the boundary of basic and applied science.
Analyses of contaminant effects in freshwater systems: synthesizing abiotic and biotic stream datasets for long-term ecological research
Fresh water is arguably the most valuable resource on the planet, but human activities threaten freshwater ecosystems. For example, use of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, road salts, and nutrients, has led to the ubiquitous contamination of aquatic systems, jeopardizing the integrity of ecological communities.
Stephen Cook successfully defended his dissertation, "Spatiotemporal Examination of Benthic Algal and Macroinvertebrate Assemblage Structure Across a Gradient of Phosphorus Enrichment" in May 2019 and officially graduated on August 19th, 2019 with a PhD in Biology. Congratulations, Stephen!
Dan Hiatt published his 2nd dissertation chapter entitled "Effects of stream velocity and phosphorus concentrations on alkaline phosphatase activity and carbon:phosphorus ratios in periphyton" in the journal Hydrobiologia. Dan is in the home stretch, just wrapping up that last chapter. Go Dan, go!