Lake, Stream & Wetland Ecology

Program Overview

We believe that humans can live sustainably with our aquatic resources, ensuring plentiful clean water for future human generations while also supporting the ecosystems that we value and that support our recreation, businesses, and industries. Our teams develop tools and techniques that help society move into this sustainable future, characterizing, measuring and documenting the improvements made along the way. We also provide research, methods development, new technologies, and analysis services to support this vision and our clients.

Program Goals

Develop science-based tools, materials and technologies to assess and protect our water resources, and restore them if degraded.

Unique Strengths, Expertise and Capabilities

Our interdisciplinary team of experts in data science and the fundamental biological and chemical aquatic sciences work together to develop various applications for natural and engineered aquatic systems, including aquatic ecosystem restoration, water treatment and remediation, and water quality monitoring and management. By incorporating an understanding of natural environmental processes, science and engineering fundamentals, we apply a systems-based approach to develop holistic solutions to pressing environmental problems.

Research Labs

Featured Video


Senior Research Fellow
Research Associate
Valerie Brady headshot
Research Associate, Aquatic Ecosystem Ecologist, Interim Water Group Leader
Elizabeth Alexson headshot
Research Staff Scientist, Aquatic Scientist
Meagan Aliff headshot
Research Staff Scientist, Aquatic Scientist
Head and shoulders photo of a women
Aquatic Scientist
David Burge headshot
Phytoplankton Associate Scientist
Head and shoulders image of Meijun Cai
Research Technical Manager, Environmental Engineer
Head and shoulder picture of a woman.
Senior Research Program Manager, Environmental Engineer
Environmental Analytical Chemist
Head and shoulders image of Lisa Estepp
Quality Manager, Senior Research Scientist
Chris Filstrup headshot
Applied Limnologist
Robert Hell
Principal Laboratory Technician
Senior Research Scientist
Senior Laboratory Technician
Research Technician, Aquatic Ecologist
Research Associate
Head and shoulder picture of a woman.
Research Associate
Research Technician, Aquatic Ecologist
Sr. Research Associate
Senior Laboratory Technician
Aqueous Geochemist
Head and shoulders photo of a man
Researcher Staff Scientist
Senior Research Technician, Aquatic Ecologist

Featured Research Projects

A risk-based classification and map of watersheds contributing anthropogenic stress to Great Lakes coastal ecosystems.

Helping decision-makers prioritize where to restore and protect wetlands in Minnesota.

Related News

wildfire burning a forest next to a lake at night.

NRRI researchers find that size of fire matters less than intensity of the blaze.

NRRI logo

Research Project Specialist 1:Environmental Analytical Chemistry Research Scientist

Job ID: 357519

Location: Duluth

Job Family: Research-Support


A man holds 5 gallon bucket while pouring purple dye into a creek. Woman watches.

NRRI stream restoration assessments go deep to understand if the fixes met goals to improve habitat.

Woman sits at bench with microscope and counting apparatus.

For aquatic research scientist, Holly Wellard Kelly, her favorite project is the one she’s working on.

Man in white lab coat and PPE stands at automated machine in a lab.

NRRI invests in state-of-the-art technology for faster results, cost savings to cyanobacteria monitoring program.

A man and large dog stand on a rock on shore of very large lake.

Fascination with tiny diatoms keeps NRRI scientist exploring water world.

Computer models showing estuary currents

Project models St. Louis River estuary rip currents to decrease drowning risks.

A man takes wire nets out of a box in a storage area.

NRRI technicians travel far and wide to get the data that informs the research. 

Title: Aquatic Ecologist Research Associate - Researcher 6

Job ID: 355112

Location: NRRI Duluth

Job Family: Research-Researchers


A woman sits at a lab bench in front of microscope

A winding path leads aquatic scientist to study water’s tiniest inhabitants

Media Coverage