Faculty and students in ecology at Kent State conduct research in forests, wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes (including Lake Erie), investigating questions at all levels of ecological complexity ranging from populations to ecosystems across taxa ranging from microbes and invertebrates to fish. Research is conducted in a variety of habitats, including properties owned by Kent State, and in modern laboratories using a wide range of approaches (including molecular methods, modeling, embedded sensors, etc.) to address critical issues in basic and applied ecology. There are abundant nearby field sites for research, including locations on campus and other nearby properties owned and operated by Kent State, such as Jenning's Woods along the West Branch of the Mahoning River. The Kent campus is home to a unique experimental wetland facility, The Art and Margaret Herrick Memorial Aquatic Ecology Research Facility (AERF). The Kent region features numerous field sites including small streams, rivers, bogs, natural lakes and reservoirs.
Diverse and abundant natural resources regionally, nationally and globally serve as the backdrop for ecology studies conducted by Kent State faculty and students. Questions posed include those focused on examining responses of populations or communities (microbial, invertebrate, or vertebrate) to specific environmental features and conditions, examination of the effect of community structure on ecological processes (such as aspects of nutrient and carbon cycles), and effects of environmental features and conditions on ecosystem functions.
Research activities in the Aquatic Ecology focus group have been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation , the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , the Lake Erie Protection Fund, , the National Aeronautics and Space Administration , and other state and federal agencies.
Graduate Training Opportunities
Most students in Aquatic Ecology are enrolled in the M.S. or Ph.D. program in Biological Sciences (Ecology concentration). Depending on their interests, some students advised by ecology faculty may alternatively be enrolled in other programs, such as the Cell and Molecular Biology program in the School of Biomedical Sciences.