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CAREER: Watersheds and Fisheries as Foci of Human Impacts and Ecological Responses: A Research and Teaching Agenda

ABSTRACT<br/><br/>Dr. Karin Limburg's five-year CAREER award will establish a highly integrated and interdisciplinary research and education plan to develop research and learning experiences in settled watersheds and connected receiving waters (including fresh, brackish, and coastal marine). Guiding thematic questions include the role of societal drivers in land use change, how such change affects watershed ecosystems and especially their receiving waters, how altered watersheds and receiving waters affect fish habitat and fisheries, and how we can determine thresholds in metastable ecosystems beyond which they will undergo a change to an alternate stable state, particularly one that is inimical to society and ecosystem services.<br/><br/>Limburg proposes a bold agenda for integrating ecosystem science with fisheries and societal drivers in linked teaching and research projects. The programmatic theme that unifies the elements is watershed science, which is emerging as a major focus at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). All of these questions are ones the PI has begun to work on, but for which much remains to be done. The PI's expertise in fisheries, ecosystem analysis and ecological economics will be brought to bear and further developed by collaborative projects, teaching, mentoring, and workshops. The proposed program will interface well with extant ESF programs in Hydrosystems Science, Fisheries and Aquatic Science, Ecological Economics, and Urban Ecology. By working with the Department Chair and a suite of mentors both internal and external to ESF, the PI will assess the success of the program in its ability to produce meaningful, life-long learning and scholarship.<br/><br/>Too often today, research and teaching are splintered into narrow disciplines, and as a consequence, students and researchers often find it difficult to deal with complex environmental problems. This program will enable a new generation of interdisciplinary scientists to be trained in a combination of a wide array of subjects, including fish migration, the use of biochemical markers and ecological economics.

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