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
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
Josh Dumke headshot
Senior Research Scientist, Fisheries Ecologist
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
Research Associate
Head and shoulder picture of a woman.
Research Associate
Research Technician, Aquatic Ecologist
Sr. Research Associate
Senior Laboratory Technician
Research Associate
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.

A comprehensive aquatic invasive species (AIS) presence database for St. Louis County lakes to help identify which may be at risk for new AIS introduction.

Related News

Love of outdoors keeps field work at the core of research technician’s role.

Lake sediment sampling reveals historical air quality on Iron Range

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $3 million to NRRI in June to fund monitoring of the bottom of the food chain in the Great Lakes.

Aquatic ecologist’s career wades into streams and shorelines to understand freshwater resources

NRRI Researcher 3: Environmental Chemistry

Job Opening: 346384

Supervisor: Bridget Ulrich

Open until filled

NRRI Post-Doctoral Associate (9546)

Job Opening: 345517

Supervisor: Chan Lan Chun

This position will remain opened until filled 

Collecting the eDNA of invasive species informs prevalence and spread in Northern Minnesota lakes

NRRI receives $2.33M from the EPA to support research teams that monitor shorelines from Thunder Bay to Green Bay.

Large numbers of tiny things can be a big problem. Applied Limnologist Chris Filstrup digs into the data of harmful algae blooms.

For three UMD undergrads, classroom learning comes alive doing NRRI field and lab work.