Ryan S. King, PhD

Ryan S. King, PhD
Professor of Biology
High Res Photo

Professor of Biology


Ecologist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, MD
Ph.D., Ecology, Duke University, NC
Master of Environmental Management, Duke University, NC
B.S., Biology, Harding University, AR

Courses Taught

Freshwater Science to Inform Policy

My lab group studies (mostly) inland freshwaters: rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, and reservoirs.

Our research spans a wide range of topics. We are very interdisciplinary! 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.

Recent Publications (2012-2017)

Bold = current or recent member of Aquatic Ecology Lab
* = Students or postdocs

Manuscripts submitted

Taylor, J. M., J. A. Back, B. W. Brooks, and R. S. King. Spatial, temporal, and experimental field studies demonstrate stream assemblage threshold responses to phosphorus enrichment. Under review.

Robbins, C.J.,* Matthaeus, W.*, Cook, S.*, Housley, L.H.*, Robison, S*, Garbarino, M.*, Lebrun, E.*, Raut, S.*, Tseng, C.*, and R. S. King. Leaf-litter species identity and diversity influence whole-stream nutrient uptake. Under review.

Wright, M. V.*, C. W. Matson, L.S. Baker, B. T. Castellon*, P. S. Watkins* and R S. King. Titanium dioxide nanoparticle exposure reduces algal biomass and alters algal assemblage composition in wastewater effluent-dominated stream mesocosms. Under review.

Simonin, M., B. Colman, S. Anderson, R. S. King, M. Ruis, A. Avellan, C. Bergemann, B. Perrotta*, N. Geitner, M. Ho, B. de la Barrera, C. J. Richardson, M. Wiesner, and E. H. Bernhardt. Emerging contaminants catalyze regime shifts in a wetland ecosystem experiment. Under review.

LeBrun, E.*, R.S, King, J. A. Back, and S. Kang. A metagenome-based investigation of gene relationships for non-substrate associated microbial P cycling in the water column of streams and rivers. Under review.

LeBrun, E*, D. L.Taylor, R.S. King, J. A. Back , and S. Kang. Rivers may constitute an overlooked avenue of dispersal for terrestrial fungi. Under review.

Manuscripts published or in press

Cook, S. C.*, L. H. Housley*, J. A. Back, and R. S. King. 2017. Freshwater eutrophication drives sharp reductions in temporal beta diversity. Ecology doi:10.1002/ecy.2069 PDF

LeBrun, E. S., King, R.S., Back, J. A., Kang, S. 2017. Microbial community structure and function decoupling across a phosphorus gradient in streams. Microbial Ecology doi:10.1007/s00248-017-1039-2

Hiatt, D.*, J. A. Back, P. Kostka*, D. F. Whigham, M. C. Rains, C. M. Walker, R. D. Doyle, and R. S. King. 2017. Catchment-scale alder cover controls nitrogen fixation in boreal headwater streams. Freshwater Science 36: 523-532.

Whigham, D. F., Walker, C. M., Maurer, J., Baird, S. J., King, R. S., Keuskamp, J., Neal, P. 2017. Watershed influences on the structure and function of riparian wetlands associated with headwater streams - Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Science of the Total Environment 599:124-134.

Robbins, C. J.*, King, R. S., Yeager, A. D.*, Walker, C. M., Back, J. A., Doyle, R. D., Whigham, D. F. 2017. Low-level addition of dissolved organic carbon increases basal ecosystem function in a boreal headwater stream. Ecosphere 8(4):e01739. 10.1002/ecs2.1739 PDF

Kornis, M., D. Breitburg, R. Balouskus, D. M. Bilkovic, L. A. Davias, S. Giordano, K. Heggie, A.H. Hines, J. M. Jacobs, T. E. Jordan, R. S. King, C. J. Patrick, R. D. Seitz, H. Soulen, D. E. Weller, D. F. Whigham and J. Uphoff. 2017. Linking the abundance of estuarine fish and mobile shellfish in nearshore waters to shoreline hardening and land cover. Estuaries and Coasts 21:1:23. PDF

Callahan, M. K., D. F. Whigham, M. C. Rains, R. S. King, C. M. Walker, J. R. Maurer, and S. J. Baird. 2017. Nitrogen subsidies from hillslope alder stands to streamside wetlands and headwater streams, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 53:478-492. PDF

Taylor, J. M,*, J.A. Back,, B.W. Brooks, and R. S. King. 2016. Consumer-mediated nutrient recycling is influenced by interactions between nutrient enrichment and the anti-microbial agent triclosan. Freshwater Science 35:856-872 PDF

King, R. S., M. Scoggins, and A. Porras. 2016. Stream biodiversity is disproportionately lost to urbanization when flow permanence declines: evidence from southwestern North America. Freshwater Science 35:340-352. PDF *open access, free download

Baker, L. F.* , R. S. King, J. M. Unrine, G. V. Lowry, and C. W. Matson. 2016. Press or pulse exposures determine the environmental fate of cerium nanoparticles in stream mesocosms. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, DOI: 10.1002/etc.3261.

King, R. S., R. A. Brain, J. A. Back, C. Becker, M.V. Wright*, V. T Djomte*, W. C Scott*, S. R. Virgil, B. W. Brooks, A. J. Hosmer, and C. K Chambliss. 2016. Effects of pulsed atrazine exposures on autotrophic community structure, biomass, and production in field-based stream mesocosms. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 35:660-675. DOI: 10.1002/etc.3213 PDF

Voss, K.*, R. S. King, and E. H. Bernhardt. 2015. From a line in the sand to a landscape of decisions: A Hierarchical Diversity Decision Framework (HiDDeF) for estimating and communicating biodiversity loss along anthropogenic gradients. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6:795-805. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12379 PDF

Labay, B.J., D. A. Hendrickson, A. E. Cohen, T. H. Bonner, R. S. King, L.J. Kleinsasser, G. W. Linam, and K. O. Winemiller. 2015. Can Species Distribution Models Aid Bioassessment when Reference Sites are Lacking? Tests Based on Freshwater Fishes. Environmental Management 56:835-846. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-015-0567-0.

Pease, A. A., J. M. Taylor*, K. O. Winemiller, and R. S. King . 2015. Functional trait diversity and trait-environment relationships in central Texas stream fish assemblages: implications for biomonitoring. Hydrobiologia 753:265-283. DOI 10.1007/s10750-015-2235-z. (cover photo, Etheostoma spectabile, by RS King).

Ray, J. W.*, M. Husemann*, R. S. King, and P. D. Danley. 2015. Life at the leading edge: genetic impoverishment of the spotted bass, Micropterus punctulatus, at its Western edge Environmental Biology of Fishes 98:1823-1832. DOI 10.1007/s10641-015-0400-x. PDF

Callahan, M.K., M. C. Rains, J. C. Bellino, C. M. Walker, D. F. Whigham and R. S. King. 2015. Controls on temperature in salmonid-bearing headwater streams in two common hydrogeologic settings, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 51:84-98. DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12235 PDF

Taylor, J. M.*, R.S. King, A. Pease, and K.O. Winemiller. 2014. Nonlinear response in stream ecosystem structure to low level phosphorus enrichment. Freshwater Biology 59:969-984 PDF

Dekar, M. P.*, C. McCauley*, J. W. Ray*, and R. S. King. 2014. Thermal tolerance, survival, and recruitment among cyprinids exposed to competition and chronic heat stress in experimental streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 143:1028-1036 PDF

King, R.S. and M.E. Baker. 2014. Use, misuse, and limitations of Threshold Indicator Taxa Analysis (TITAN) for natural resource management. pp 231-254 In: G. Guntenspergen (editor), Application of Threshold Concepts in Natural Resource Decision Making, Springer. PDF

Richardson, C. J. and R. S. King. 2013. A primer on sampling plant communities in wetlands. pp. 197-224 In: Methods in Biogeochemistry of Wetlands. Soil Science Society of America. PDF

Back, J.A., and R. S. King. 2013. Sex and size matter: Ontogenetic patterns of nutrient content of aquatic insects. Freshwater Science 32:837-848 PDF

Baker, M.E., and R. S. King. 2013. Of TITAN and straw men: an appeal for greater understanding of community data. Freshwater Science 32:489-506. PDF

Lang, D.A.*, R.S. King, and J.T. Scott. 2012. Divergent responses of biomass and enzyme activities suggest differential nutrient limitation in stream periphyton. Freshwater Science 31:1096-1104. PDF

Husemann, M.*, J. W. Ray*, R. S. King, E. Hooser*, and P.D. Danley. 2012. Comparative biogeography reveals differences in population genetic structure of five species of stream fishes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 107:867-885. PDF

Bernhardt, E. S., B. D. Lutz, R. S. King, A. M. Helton, C. A. Carter, J. P. Fay, D. Campagna, J. Amos. 2012. How many mountains can we mine? Assessing the regional degradation of Central Appalachian rivers by surface coal mining. Environmental Science & Technology 46: 8115-8122 PDF

Ray, J.W.*, M. Husemann*, R. S. King, and P. D. Danley. 2012. Genetic analysis reveals dispersal of Florida bass haplotypes from reservoirs to rivers in central Texas. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:1269-1273 PDF

Stanley, C. E.*, J. M. Taylor*, and R. S. King. 2012. Coupling fish community structure with instream flow and habitat connectivity between two hydrologically extreme years. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:1000-1015. PDF

Taylor, J. M.*, J. A. Back*, T. W. Valenti*, and R. S. King. 2012. Fish-mediated nutrient cycling and benthic microbial processes: Can consumers influence stream nutrient cycling at multiple spatial scales? Freshwater Science 31:928-944. PDF

Studds, C. E., W. V. DeLuca, M. E. Baker, R. S. King, and P. P. Marra. 2012. Land cover and rainfall interact to shape waterbird community composition. PLoS One 7.e35969, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035969. PDF

King, R. S., C. M. Walker, D. F. Whigham, S. J. Baird, and J. A. Back*. 2012. Catchment topography and wetland geomorphology drive macroinvertebrate community structure and juvenile salmonid distributions in southcentral Alaska headwater streams. Freshwater Science 31:341-364 PDF

Walker, C. M., R. S. King, Whigham, D. W.,and S. J. Baird. 2012. Landscape and wetland influences on headwater stream chemistry in the Kenai Lowlands, Alaska. Wetlands 32:301-310 PDF

Taylor, J. M.*, J. A. Back*, and R. S. King. 2012. Grazing minnows increase benthic autotrophy and enhance the response of periphyton elemental composition to experimental phosphorus additions. Freshwater Science 31:451-462 PDF

Whigham, D. W., C. M. Walker, R. S. King, and S. J. Baird. 2012. Multiple scales of influence on wetland vegetation associated with headwater streams in Alaska, USA. Wetlands 32:411-422 PDF

Dekar, M. P.*, R. S. King, C. M. Walker, D. F. Whigham, and J. A. Back*. 2012. Allochthonous inputs from grass-dominated wetlands support juvenile salmonids in headwater streams: evidence from stable isotopes of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Freshwater Science 31:121-132. PDF

Shaftel, R. S.*, R. S. King, and J. A. Back*. 2012. Alder cover drives nitrogen availability in Kenai Peninsula headwater streams, Alaska. Biogeochemistry 107:135-148 PDF

*Student or postdoc

Department of Biology

B.207 Baylor Science Building
One Bear Place #97388
Waco, TX 76798-7388

(254) 710-2911