Gavin Saari

Gavin SaariYear and Program

I am finishing up my third year in the Environmental Science (ENV) Master’s program but am accepted and transitioning into the ENV PhD program.


Water resources in arid to semi-arid regions are stressed by water shortages resulting from population growth and drought. Such growing populations and climatic changes influence contaminant dynamics in urban inland waters where flows can be dominated by or even dependent on discharges from wastewater treatment plants. In these urbanizing watersheds, hypoxia and environmental contaminants (e.g., pharmaceuticals) can affect fish physiology (e.g., reproduction, behavior) and thus may influence the sustainability of fish populations in inland waters. Our studies investigate the influence of hypoxia during chemical safety assessments with freshwater fish and elucidate the critical thresholds of interacting stressors relevant to maintaining aquatic populations. As a result, this type of research can be used to guide water resource management for more sustainable approaches to environmental health.

Awards or Recognition you have received in the program

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Master’s STAR Fellowship
  • C. Gus Glasscock Jr. Endowed Fund for Excellence in Environmental Sciences
  • The Glasscock Restricted Scholarship Fund
  • The Doris Kayser Stark Graduate Scholarship Fund
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Travel Award
  • Graduate Student Travel Awards

Favorite aspect of studying with Baylor Environmental Science Department

The interdisciplinary philosophy to studying environmental science and the opportunity and financial support to attend regional, national, and international conferences to augment global perspectives and networks in ecotoxicology.

Career Goals

My career goal is to become a leading scientist in the field of aquatic ecotoxicology, and I hope my future research will allow society to develop strategies to promote the sustainability of natural resources and ecosystems. My proposed PhD research addresses real world conditions focusing on multiple stressors (dissolved oxygen, pharmaceuticals) in effluent-dominated streams and their influences on fish. The findings of my proposed research have the promise to provide information spanning several levels of biological organization that can support ecological risk assessment and aid in establishing more sustainable water quality standards in urban watersheds. After completing graduate studies, I would like to be vigorously involved in research for an organization (e.g., academia or government) that strives for sustainability of natural resources and regulation of environmental contaminants that affect human and environmental health.