At The Freshwater Ecology and Conservation Lab, we work to advance the science and practice of conserving freshwater ecosystems. Together, our passion is to create a world where people understand, value, and conserve freshwater biodiversity. Our research tackles many of the grand challenges facing freshwater sustainability, including issues related to the threats associated with dam infrastructure, invasive species, and climate change, and in a diversity of settings such as dryland streams, temperate rivers, inland lakes, and in front of our computers! Please explore our lab blogs to learn more.


Julian’s Story

I’m Canadian, and I conducted my undergraduate studies in the Department of Zoology at the University of Toronto (1994-1998). Here, my passion for ecological research was first sparked; specifically while hauling trammel nets choked with squirming white suckers from northern Ontario lakes. My honors project focused on the environmental and spatial determinants of fish community composition, and first exposed me to the strength of both field work and data synthesis in ecology. Later, I received my Master’s Degree in Zoology from the University of Toronto (2000) under the supervision of Dr. Donald Jackson. I investigated the biogeography of freshwater fishes in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. Using a combination of field and remotely-generated environmental data, I developed and compared a series of statistical modeling approaches to predicting species occurrence. This work fueled my continuing interest in applying novel statistical approaches to address complex pattern recognition problems in ecology.

Next, I started my doctoral studies in the Ecology Program at Colorado State University under the supervision of Dr. LeRoy Poff. My time in graduate school was hugely rewarding; I was passionate about advancing the study of ecohydrology, using ecological traits as a currency to understand freshwater phenomena, and learning everything I could about fishes of the American Southwest. My dissertation studies represented my first forays into riverine ecology and theoretical biology and lead to pioneering research on the process and implications of biotic homogenization for conservation.

After completing my PhD studies in 2004, I was awarded a David H. Smith Conservation Postdoctoral Fellowship from Society for Conservation Biology. I conducted research in the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin with Dr. Jake Vander Zanden, where I developed tools to forecast the spread of freshwater invaders in Wisconsin Lake. As a Smith Fellow I was also exposed to the inner workings of conservation NGOs and was provided the wonderful opportunity to expand my research program on invasive species and water resource management into the field of conservation.

Finally, I landed a faculty position in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington in 2006, and I’ve been here ever since.