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Freshwater science to inform policy

We study aquatic ecosystems--almost exclusively inland freshwaters. We are particularly interested in the availability of three essential building blocks of life: phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon. We design field studies and perform experiments to help understand how altering levels of these elements in isolation and coupled with potential contaminants may cause detrimental and even irreversible damage to ecosystems in which we rely on for water, food, and recreation. Along the way, we make discoveries that contribute to our "textbook" understanding of our planet. In academic terms, we span the boundary of basic and applied science.


Moncie Wright published the first chapter of her dissertation in Science of the Total Environment, a journal with an impact factor of 5.0 (which is very good). The title of her paper is "Titanium dioxide nanoparticle exposure reduces algal biomass and alters algal assemblage composition in wastewater effluent-dominated stream mesocosms." Two other chapters are close to submission. Congrats, Moncie!
Stephen Cook, a Ph.D. student in the Aquatic Ecology Lab, received news that his first paper, "Freshwater eutrophication sharply reduces temporal beta diversity," will be published in Ecology, the flagship journal of the Ecological Society of America. Congratulations, Stephen!
TITAN has been updated on CRAN (the R comprehensive archive network) and can be installed using one of dozens of CRAN mirrors from anywhere in the world. TITAN has been applied in ~140 studies since it was first published in 2010, with more users every year. This update is intended to make diagnostics more straightforward in addition to faster processing times.
King and his lab group will be funded for at least a second year to study the effects of headwater streams on downstream ecosystems in Alaska. The award, from the Alaska State Wildlife Fund and US FWS, totals $98,700 for fiscal year 2018.
Dan Hiatt and Caleb Robbins, both PhD candidates in the Aquatic Ecology lab, published their study showing that alder, an upland shrub with N-fixing bacterial symbionts, generates so much excess N at the catchment scale that it controls N2-fixation in boreal streams of Alaska.
Research Spotlight

We were selected by a joint committee from Oklahoma and Arkansas to conduct a multi-year study to determine a threshold level of phosphorus for the Designated Scenic Rivers of Oklahoma. The $600,000 study just wrapped up. Download the final report and view photo gallery and video clips from the study


Contact Information

Ryan S. King, Ph.D.
Professor and Graduate Program Director
Department of Biology
One Bear Place #97388
Waco, TX 76798-7388

Office location: BSB C.414
Lab location: BSB C.453R

Office telephone: 254.710.2150
Lab telephone: 254.710.2372