Mountaintop Coal Mining
Dr. Ryan King, associate professor of biology at Baylor, directs students and manages all research projects in the Aquatic Ecology Lab. His area of expertise is mountaintop coal mining.
King is interested in determinants of species composition at higher trophic levels in aquatic ecosystems. He is particularly interested in how abiotic stressors and resource subsidies affect structure and function of macroinvertebrate and fish communities in a variety of aquatic habitats. He also uses aquatic biota as indicators of ecological integrity. These distinct but related interests are the basis for much of his past, present and intended future research, including:
Estimating ecological thresholds using aquatic communities of algae, plants, macroinvertebrates and fish as indicators of nonlinear ecosystem changes, particularly in response to water quality (e.g., nutrients) or other anthropogenic stressors.
Linking watershed features (e.g., land use) to water quality and aquatic biota in streams, wetlands and estuaries
Implications of elemental (e.g., carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) imbalances between consumers and their food in aquatic ecosystems (i.e., "ecological stoichiometry")
Developing ecological indicators using aquatic biota for resource assessment at broad geographic scales
His research interests span a variety of disciplines, including community and landscape ecology, biogeochemistry, and environmental science and policy. The interdisciplinary nature of his research is attractive to many funding agencies and is particularly well suited for the participation of both undergraduate and graduate students in the field and his laboratory.
His joint research on coal mining's effects on water quality in West Virginia has been picked up by multiple news organizations, including Clean Technica and the Charleston Gazette.
He graduated from Harding University with a bachelor's in biology. He received his master's and Ph.D. from Duke University, in environmental management and ecology, respectively. He was also an ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland.
To interview Dr. King, contact Tonya Lewis, at (254) 710-4656, or the Office of Media Communications at (254) 710-1961.