Current Research Areas

The highest densities of lakes on Earth are in north temperate ecosystems, where chloride runoff from road deicers can salinize freshwaters and threaten lake water quality and the many ecosystem services lakes provide.

Many questions remain as to the impact of chloride loading in aquatic ecosystems.

Publications:
Dugan et al. (2017) PNAS
Dugan et al. (2017) Nature: Scientific Data
Dugan et al. (2017) Limnology and Oceanography Letters
Shannon et al. (2020) Journal of Urban Ecology
Dugan et al. (2020) Environmental Science & Technology
Dugan and Rock (2021) Limnology and Oceanography Letters
Ladwig et al. (2021) Limnology and Oceanography Letters
Dugan et al. (2021) Limnology and Oceanography Letters

Understanding energy, water, solute, and material flux through lakes and reservoirs underpins our knowledge of the roles lakes play in their catchments, how lakes process and respond to external drivers, and the threats to lake ecosystem services imposed by human activities.

Hydrodynamic water quality models are technologies well-suited to this class of ecological problem. They are tools that provide the opportunity to model the physics, chemistry, and biology of lakes, and offer a mechanistic understanding of lake systems that can be used to test management strategies, predict scenarios under future conditions, and, in the future, provide real-time forecasting of water quality.

Publications:
Snortheim et al (2016) Ecological Modelling
Moore et al (2021) Environmental Modelling & Software
Ladwig et al. (2021) Limnology and Oceanography Letters
Ladwig et al. (2021) Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
Ladwig et al. (2022) Limnology and Oceanography

How do lakes function across large geographic areas?

Linking local ecosystem processes to global changes involves scaling up. Moving from site-specific studies that provide an invaluable means to understand process, to large-scale analyses across a gradient of sites at the continental or global scale is essential to forming a generalizable understanding of both ecosystem processes and the interactions between natural systems and humans.

Publications:
Read et al (2017) Water Resources Research
Mantzouki et al (2018) Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Topp et al (2021) Water Resources Research

Antarctic limnology was the focus of my PhD research. In 2011, a survey of the Dry Valleys using airborne electromagnetics was conducted. Results revealed wide-spread subsurface brine throughout Taylor Valley. In 2017, I headed back to the ice to conduct a second (deeper and wider) survey.

Publications:
Dugan et al (2015) Geophysical Research Letters
Mikucki et al (2015) Nature Communications
Myers et al (2021) Cryosphere

Expanding our knowledge of winter limnology is critical for managing lakes and reservoirs in a future with shorter winters and less lake ice. In temperate latitudes, limnologists have largely ignored winter as a season that impacts ecological processes, and it is unclear what ramifications the loss of lake ice will have on lake ecosystems.

Publications:
Yang et al (2020) Geophysical Research Letters
Dugan et al (2021) JGR Biogeosciences
Feiner et al (2022) CJFAS