Department of Environmental Sciences


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Main Campus
Wolfe Hall Suite 1235

2801 West Bancroft St.,
Mail Stop #604
Toledo, Ohio 43606-3390

Phone: 419.530.2009
Fax: 419.530.4421

Faculty: Hans Gottgens

 Gottgens 2015
Professor and Associate Chair
Editor-in-Chief, Wetlands Ecology and Management
ph.d. university of florida 1992

Research and Teaching Interests:

  • Pulse Stability in Wetlands
  • Human Impacts on Rivers and Streams
  • Paleolimnological Approaches to Restoration

(419) 530-8451 |

 Hans Gottgens
Research Current Students
Recent Publications Past Students
Courses Download Vitae
    >> Download flyer for the Wetlands Ecology Lab (PDF).
    >> View Dr. Gottgens' Google Scholar page.


Research: Gottgens Pulse Stability in Wetlands

Succession in aquatic systems is often controlled by periodic perturbations, such as fluctuating water levels, drought, fire, grazing or tides. These perturbations remove organic matter and liberate nutrients. As such, they help maintain these ecosystems at an intermediate stage in their successional development. Water managers, however, generally aim to eliminate these disturbances, because they interfere with the use of aquatic habitat for water supply, navigation, recreation and aquaculture. Students test hypotheses relative to the long-term impact of eliminating or altering such a pattern of pulsed stability in lakes and wetlands.

Human Impacts on Rivers and Streams

Rivers and streams are among the most impacted ecosystems. They are used as conveyors of pollutants and have been dredged, dammed, ditched or diked. The majority of 1st and 2nd order streams, making up a stunning 75% of the total length of U.S. streams and rivers, have communities that no longer resemble their natural condition. Moreover, they have lost their ability to provide us with 'free' ecosystem services such as water quality protection and flood control. Students research stream management methods that incorporate environmental considerations, including dam removal to restore fish migration and ditch maintenance to promote conservation.

Paleolimnological Approaches to Restoration

To understand the response of lakes, rivers and wetlands to anthropogenic actions requires long-term records of environmental data. Because such historical data are usually absent, stratigraphic analysis of sedimentary records and the mechanisms that can modify those records (i.e., paleolimnology) may be used. The lab has published paleolimnological research on lake and wetland responses to water-level manipulations, development in the watershed, loading of agricultural non-point pollution, dam failures, and long-term contamination with toxics.

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Recent Publications

>> View Dr. Gottgens' Google Scholar page.

(* denotes student author)

Chu, H.*, J. Chen, J.F. Gottgens, A.R. Desai, Z. Ouyant* and S. Qian, 2016
Response and biophysical regulation of ecosystem carbon dioxide fluxes to climate variability and anomaly in contrasting ecosystems. Agricultural and Forest Meterorology: 50-68.  >> DOWNLOAD PDF

Svoboda, A.D., J.F. Gottgens and B.J. Zimmerman, 2016
Status and Distribution of the Least Darter (Etheostoma microperca Jordan and Gilbert): A State Listed Species of Concern in Ohio. American Midland Naturalist 175: 128-134 >> DOWNLOAD PDF

Chu, H.*, J.F. Gottgens, J. Chen, G. Sun, A. Desai, Z. Ouyang, C. Shao and K. Czajkowski, 2015
Climatic variability, hydrologic anomaly, and methane emission can turn productive freshwater marshes into net carbon sources.  Global Change Biology (DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12760) >> DOWNLOAD PDF

Chu, H.*, J. Chen, J.F. Gottgens, Z. Ouyang*, R. John, K. Czajkowski, and R. Becker. 2014
Net ecosystem exchanges of CH4 and CO2 at a temperate freshwater marsh and a cropland. Journal Geophysical Research 119: 722-740.  >> DOWNLOAD PDF

Baca, K., T.G. Fisher and J.F. Gottgens.  2014
Temporally constrained eolian sand signals and their relationship to climate, Oxbow Lake, Saugatuck, Michigan. in Fisher, T.G., E.C. eds., Coastline and Dune Evolution Along the Great Lakes Special Paper 508: Boulder, Geological Society of America, p. 151-165. 

Becher, C.* and Gottgens, J.F. 2012
The Impact of Dredging on Heterogeneity and Fish Communities in Agricultural Streams of the greater Sandusky River Watershed, Ohio. Proc. National Conf. Undergraduate Research, Ogden, Utah: 578-583.  >> DOWNLOAD PDF

Chu, H.S*, Chang, S.C., Klemm, O., Lai, C.W., Lin, Y.Z., Wu, C.C., Lin, J.Y., Jiang, J.Y., Chen, J., Gottgens, J.F., and Hsia, Y.J. 2012.
Does canopy wetness matter? Evapotranspiration from a subtropical montane cloud forest in Taiwan. Hydrological Processes. >> DOWNLOAD PDF

Tessler, N.R*, Gottgens, J.F., and Kibbey, M.R. 2012.
The First Observations of the Eastern Sand Darter, Ammocrypta pellucida (Agassiz), in the Ohio Portion of the Maumee River Mainstem in Sixty Five Years. American Midland Naturalist 167: 198-204. >> DOWNLOAD PDF

Crail, T.D.*, Gottgens, J.F., and Krause, A.E. 2011.
Fish community response to evolving channel complexity in an agricultural headwater system. J. Soil Water Conservation 66(5): 295-302. >> DOWNLOAD PDF

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EEES 2150 BIODIVERSITY [4 hours]
This course serves as an introduction to the basic principles of biological evolution, diversity, and ecology. It begins with a discussion of the characteristics of living organisms, the hierarchical structure of biology and its major organizing concepts. It briefly examines chromosomes, cell division, and the concept of heredity in order to understand the mechanisms of evolution and speciation. Biological diversity is emphasized in the context of evolution, rather than as a 'parade of kingdoms.' Throughout the course, the structure of ecosystems, and concepts of population and community ecology are examined.

EEES 4730/5730/7730 AQUATIC ECOLOGY [3 hours]
The structure and functioning of freshwater ecosystems with an emphasis on ecological concepts needed to understand and solve practical management problems involving water pollution, wetlands, dams and reservoirs, the Great Lakes, habitat restoration, invasive species, and tropical management of water resources.  

EEES 4740/5740/7740 AQUATIC ECOLOGY LAB [1 hour]
Laboratory exercises on the biology of aquatic populations, communities and ecosystems with a special emphasis on the Lake Erie basin. Students will participate in field investigations (in open lake, stream, marsh, and floodplain environments). For each of these, they will conduct a series of supervised laboratory exercises to analyze samples and to reinforce the techniques used during field trips. Several visits to regional aquatic systems of interest are planned to illustrate practical aspects of aquatic ecology. This course is appropriate for undergraduate students who have completed or are taking EEES 4730 (Aquatic Ecology), or for graduate students with a general background in physics, math, and chemistry and an interest in aquatic systems.  

EEES 4750/5750/7750 CONSERVATION BIOLOGY  [3 hours]
Cross-disciplinary concepts in the application of principles and theory to the study and maintenance of diversity in temperate and tropical systems. The course will include lectures, classroom discussions, readings, video, and field excursions.

Laboratory and field exercises relevant to the conservation biology of populations, communities and ecosystems.  This course includes field trips, sample analyses, and computer-based approaches to biodiversity inventories and reserve design.

A theme-based capstone course focused on integration, synthesis and applications of course work students have taken in their program of study, including a comprehensive assessment of that program of study.  Departmental majors work in small teams to complete a practical project for a client culminating in a scope of work, team-presentation and project report.  Clients might include a conservation organization, governmental agency, private industry, school, or other.

Structure, functioning, and management of freshwater ecosystems in the tropics in contrast with temperate zone systems. The course focuses on ecological concepts needed to understand and solve practical management problems involving water pollution, wetlands, dams and reservoirs, habitat restoration, watershed management, and conservation of biodiversity. Professional applications for careers in third world environmental management and conservation of aquatic resources (e.g., Peace Corps, United Nations, Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, etc.) will be emphasized.  


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Past Students

Housen Chu
PhD 2014

Contrasting the responses of ecosystem carbon and water fluxes to changing climate from a terrestrial-aquatic landscape (co-advised with J. Chen).

Post doc, UC Berkeley



Aaron Svoboda MS 2014

Effects of urban river rehabilitation structures on the fish community in the Ottawa River, NW Ohio.

Sanitarian, Ottawa County Health Department

Brenda Leady PhD 2013

Historic patterns of deposition and biomagnification of mercury in selected wetland systems.

Lecturer, Department of Biological
Sciences, University of Toledo

 Justin Selden MS MS 2013

The Effect of Dredging on Fish Communities in Agricultural Streams in Crawford, Sandusky and Seneca Counties of Ohio.

Program Instructor, Michigan Sea Grant

Todd Crail PhD 2012

The Ecological niche of Darters (Pisces: Percidae) across Multiple Scales in the Ohio River Basin (co-advised with J. Bossenbroek).

Lecturer, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo

Jeffrey Grabarkiewicz MS 2012

Habitat Use and Community Structure of Unionid Mussels in Three Lake Erie Tributaries.

Wildlife Ecologist, Michigan Department of Transportation

Stacey Jackson-Harris MS 2012

Contact and Consumption Advisories on Ten Mile Creek/Ottawa River (Ohio): Rationale, Scientific Justification and Continued Need.

High School Teacher, Toledo Public Schools

Brendan May MS 2012

Optimal Wetland Design for the Removal of Pathogens from discharges into Lake Erie: Literature synthesis and evaluation of the proposed wetland at Maumee Bay State Park.

High School Teacher, Swanton Public Schools

Nate Tessler MS 2012

Agricultural streams as spawning and nursery habitat for northern pike (Esox lucius) in the North Branch of the Portage River drainage of northwestern Ohio.

Environmental Specialist, Ohio Department of Transportation

Catherine Buchanan MS 2010

Phytoremediation of copper: optimization studies.

Staff Engineer, McGinley & Assoc., Las Vegas, Nevada

Alex Duncan MS 2009

Evaluation of Azolla caroliniana to phytofiltrate arsenic from contaminated water.

Environmental Scientist, City of Austin, Texas

Todd Crail MS 2007

Impact of Plant Colonization on Fish Communities in Agricultural Ditches of the Ottawa River, Northwest Ohio.

Lecturer, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo

Michael Benedict PhD 2006

Riparian Forests in NW Ohio Watersheds: Relations among Landscape Structure, Land Use/Land Cover, and Water Quality in Streams.

Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Program, Hiram College, Ohio

Caine Kolinski MSE 2006

Integrating wetlands ecology in secondary science education.

Science Teacher, Clay High School, Oregon, Ohio

Anne Stearns MS 2006

The Management Status of Southwestern Coastal Lake Erie Marshes: Challenges and Opportunities to Maximize Natural Wetland Functions.

Statistical and Information Officer, Kansas State University, Kansas

Amanda Arceo MS 2005

The Impact of a Small Dam on Fish Community Composition and Structure in the Ottawa River, Ohio.

Principal, Avicenna Academy, Crown Point, Indiana

Barry Muller PhD 2004

Longterm nonpoint pollution abatement in coastal marshes.

Principal Radiological Engineer, Detroit Edison, Michigan

Kaushik Mysorekar MS 2004

LIDAR - Remote sensing applications in ecology.

GIS Specialist, The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA

Michael Benedict MS 2000

Floodplain ecology in the Pantanal, Brazil.

PhD Student, Department of Earth, Ecological and Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo.

Michael Homsher PhD 2000

Biosentinels for sediment contamination.

Professor, School of Environmental and Emergency Management, University of Findlay, Ohio

Kathryn Nelson MS 1998

Floodplain forest ecology.

Naturalist (retired): Toledo Area Metroparks, Ohio

Marci Cole MS 1997

Mercury magnification along aquatic food chains.

Coastal Ecologist, Save the Bay, Providence, RI

Stephanie Kaplan MS 1997

Sedimentary records of biological change.

Science Teacher, Springfield High School, Sylvania, Ohio

Jeffrey Savino MS 1996

Paleolimnology as lake management tool.

Science Instructor, Toledo, Ohio

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Sensitivity of satellite-based Vegetation Photosynthesis Model (VPM) to GPP estimation in a Great Lakes coastal wetland. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeoscience(submitted October, 2015)

Status and Distribution of the Least Darter (Etheostoma microperca Jordan and Gilbert) in Ohio: A State Listed Species of Concern.  American Midland Naturalist (in press)

Last Updated: 5/31/18