My research interests span community, ecosystem and landscape ecology.  Although I work with organisms from bacteria to fishes and with a range of nutrient cycles, my favorite organisms are cyanobacteria, and my favorite process is nitrogen fixation.  Much of my research is aimed at taking an ecosystem approach to better plan and implement ecological restoration, from managing invasive plants in coastal lake zones to understanding the fate of nutrients added with the goal of mitigating for declines in Pacific salmon populations. I am particularly interested in questions that cross aquatic-terrestrial and stream-lake boundaries. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in general ecology, aquatic ecology, and professional development.

Here I am talking about my NSF CAREER project - check it out! 

YouTube Video

Chris Adams joined the lab in Fall 2015, and is co-advised by Dr. Casey Huckins.  Chris received his undergraduate degree from Lake Superior State University in 2006 and worked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife from 2007-2015 on salmonid monitoring projects in the Klamath River basin. He received his Master’s degree from Humboldt State University in 2012. His research interests include stream ecology, fish biology, and using fish tagging an tracking techniques to inform habitat restoration efforts. Chris is also a professional fly tier and artist.

Colin Brooks joined the lab in Fall 2014, and his research interests focus on the intersection between ecology and remote sensing. He is interested in how various forms of remote sensing, from satellites to drones, can meet the needs for ecological data at a variety of scales to help assess environmental change in the Great Lakes region and beyond. Colin is working on developing algorithms to map invasive aquatic plants in nearshore regions of the Great Lakes to help monitor the effectiveness of control techniques. He also manages the Environmental Sciences Lab at the Michigan Tech Research Institute while working on a mid-career PhD, where he also applies remote sensing to transportation research.

Erin earned her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan before joining the lab in 2015. Erin is interested in aquatic ecology and geochemistry. She completed her MS thesis, “Co-occurrence of nitrogen fixation and denitrification across a stream nitrogen gradient in a western watershed,” in spring 2017 as part of the lab's NSF CAREER project looking at the dynamics of nitrogen fixation and denitrification in streams. She is continuing her PhD studies on the same project, focusing on small-scale factors that permit the concurrence of N transformations and how they related to microbial assemblages.  Here she is excited to discover Nostoc in one of her Idaho study streams.

Kevin earned his MS and BS from Central Michigan University before joining the lab in 2016 as a PhD student as part of the NSF CAREER project. Kevin is interested in modeling N fixation and denitrification over streams and through time, and how N that enters an ecosystem through fixation may be integrated into aquatic food webs.

Ryan Van Goethem joined the lab in spring 2014, first as a technician, and then as an undergraduate researcher.  In 2015 Ryan completed a summer research project studying the relationship between legacy mining deposits and aquatic macrophyte communities in the Portage Waterway.  He graduated with his BS in Dec 2015 and is continuing in lab as an MS student, joining several projects studying the management of Eurasian Watermilfoil in the northern Great Lakes region.  He is broadly interested in lake littoral zone ecology and the management of aquatic macrophytes.

Michelle joined the lab in spring 2015 as an undergraduate researcher, and assisted with Eurasian Watermilfoil and the NSF CAREER projects in lab and field. In summer 2016, she is working on an NSF REU project investigating variation in rates of 
nitrification, denitrification, and nitrogen fixation in stream riffles and pools within N-limited Upper Peninsula streams. She graduated from Michigan Tech in Spring 2017 with a BS in Environmental Engineering, and will purse an MS in Stream Ecology at University of Kansas starting Fall 2017.

Lab Alumni

Kevyn worked on Great-Lakes Restoration Initiative project, "Arresting the Spread of Eurasian Watermilfoil in Lake Superior", and was co-located in Dr. Huckins's lab at Michigan Tech.  Kevyn left Michigan Tech in Spring 2016 to join the faculty at UW River Falls as an Assistant Professor of Conservation and Environmental Science, but he continues to collaborate on all of our Milfoil-focused research projects.You can learn more about Kevyn's current and past research at his website:  

Ashley earned her M.S. from Northern Arizona University 2010 and then worked as an Ecologist for USGS before arriving at Michigan Tech in 2011.  Ashley is interested in ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry. Her dissertation work in Lake Superior tributaries (Coble 2015) was focused on identifying seasonal patterns of in-stream nutrient cycling, nutrient export, and organic matter biodegradability (e.g., Coble et al. 2015, Coble et al. 2016, Coble et al. 2017 in press).  She is now a postdoctoral research at University of New Hampshire.

Jade worked on a variety of field and lab projects starting in Spring 2012 and continuing after her graduation in May 2015.  In 2013, Jade became our resident phytoplankton expert, leading a project studying seasonal and spatial variations in phytoplankton communities in waterways of the Les Cheneaux Islands. In 2014, Jade conducted a mesocosm experiment testing the hypothesis that nutrient supply and non-native macrophytes interact to alter phytoplankton community composition, with support from a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.  She graduated from Michigan Tech in Spring 2015, is now working on her MS with our good friends in the Stream Ecology Center at Idaho State.  

Tim joined the lab as an undergraduate researcher in 2011 and worked on various field and lab projects that summer.  He returned in summer 2012 to start as an MS student in Applied Ecology, co-advised by Dr. Evan Kane in SFRES. You can learn more about Tim's thesis work, which adapted an ionic liquid extraction method used in industrial applications to quantitate forms of iron in peat porewater, in his recent paper published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal here: Veverica et al. 2016.  Tim is now the 
Analytical Chemist Lab Manager at the University of Michigan Biological Station.

Jamie came to Michigan Tech in the spring of 2012 after graduating from the University of Michigan with a BS in Environmental Science. He has broad interests in ecosystem ecology.  He completed his MS research (Olson 2014) focused on how different culvert designs affect ecosystem processes in streams of Northern Wisconsin, which will soon be published in River Research and Applications.

Jonathan completed his MS work in summer 2012 studying biofilm responses to nutrient additions intended to mitigate for the loss of Pacific Salmon in central Idaho Streams - read more here: Ebel et al. 2014.  He is currently pursuing his PhD at Memorial University of Newfoundland.