Current research projects of SBE faculty in aquatic ecology deal with issues concerning endangered aquatic species, invasive species, lake-shore development, the effects of dams and dam removal, point and non-point source pollution, aquatic community structure, and aquatic restoration.
For example, one project focuses on how invasive species, agricultural land use, and acid deposition alter the links between biological communities and the biogeochemistry of streams. This research applies techniques ranging from molecular tools for quantifying microbial community structure to whole-stream additions of stable isotope tracers to track the cycling of energy and nutrients in streams. Another project is developing a landmark study in aquatic restoration following planned dam removals on the Penobscot River.
Many of the research goals are being met through external collaborations and campus interactions with entities such as the Senator George Mitchell Center, the Climate Change Institute, the Department of Wildlife Ecology, the Department of Resource Economics and Policy, USGS, USDA-NRI, and Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.
Our research is funded by a wide range of sources outside Maine, including the National Science Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Our scientists cooperate with faculty in the Department of Wildlife Ecology, the Department of Natural Resource Management and Policy, the School of Marine Sciences, the USGS, and the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental & Watershed Research.