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Aquatic Ecology Lab at WSU Vancouver


Welcome to the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory at Washington State University!  The Lab is co-directed by  Dr. Stephen M. Bollens and Dr. Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens with an active and diverse research team consisting of graduate students, undergraduate researchers, research technicians and high school science teachers conducting summer research. We are based on the WSU Vancouver campus, located in the Portland Metropolitan Area.

Our research is broadly concerned with the ecology of marine, estuarine and freshwater phytoplanton, zooplankton and fish, and spans the sub-disciplines of behavior, population biology, community ecology and ecosystem dynamics. Our research often has an applied aspect to it, touching upon such areas as conservation biology, restoration ecology, fisheries oceanography, and global change. We employ a wide variety of approaches to “doing science”, including field (observational), modeling and experimental techniques.

We have two major areas of research in our group:  Coastal & Estuarine Ecology, led primarily by Dr. Bollens, and Microbial Aquatic Ecology, led primarily by Dr. Rollwagen-Bollens.  However our group is highly collaborative and our projects often include aspects of both research areas, therefore Dr. Bollens and Dr. Rollwagen-Bollens co-advise most of their graduate students.

Our current research is focused in the Columbia River Estuary and other smaller estuaries of the Pacific Northwest coast, as well as freshwater lakes and streams of western Washington state.  Locations of other recent projects include San Francisco Bay and the coastal ocean off California, Georges Bank/Northwest Atlantic, the Arabian Sea, the equatorial Pacific, the Florida Keys, and the Bering Sea. Our projects have been funded by a wide range of federal and state agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the CALFED Bay/Delta Program. For more detailed information on our current and recent research projects, please visit our Research and Publications pages.