Gary Lamberti Professor

Stream and Wetland Ecology
Gary Lamberti

Research Interests:

The overall goal of my research program is to better understand the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems on a changing planet. Streams, rivers, and wetlands constitute some of the most physically and biologically dynamic components of the landscape. Along with being biodiversity hotspots, these ecosystems harbor some of the most essential elements for human existence, including water for consumption and industry, food in fisheries, nutrient and contaminant filtration, avenues for transportation, and recreational opportunities. Fish and wildlife use rivers and wetlands as nursery areas, corridors for migration, and foraging habitats. Many activities that occur on land, both natural and human-related, eventually are manifest in aquatic ecosystems. For example, watershed land-use change can alter hydrology, water chemistry, and organic matter inputs to streams, thereby impacting stream biota and human use. Wetland loss and alteration can negate the beneficial roles of wetlands for biological productivity and water quality improvement. Channelization and damming of rivers serves to separate these ecosystems from their integral watersheds and riparian wetlands. Introductions of exotic species to freshwater ecosystems, including fish, plants, and invertebrates, have had major impacts on native organisms and natural food webs. In addition, global drivers, such as climate change, threaten the integrity of all freshwater ecosystems.

The Lamberti Laboratory studies wide-ranging and important questions in aquatic ecology, with a primary focus on stream and wetland ecosystems and the human impacts on those systems. Among the topics explored by lab members include:

  • the role of native and introduced sport fishes in nutrient and contaminant transport
  • the function of coastal wetlands in energy production and transfer to lake and marine systems
  • the ecology and control of invasive aquatic organisms
  • the restoration of degraded freshwater habitats

Students conduct research in the Pacific Northwest and in the Great Lakes basin under unifying themes. In Alaska and around the Great Lakes, the lab investigates methods to restore degraded streams and rivers that support wild or introduced salmonids. In the native range of salmon, we study the role of salmon-derived nutrients in streams that have been impacted by past logging. In the Great Lakes, we study the unintended ecological consequences of large-scale introductions of Pacific salmon, which can transport contaminants to new areas during their spawning migrations. The laboratory also investigates the ecology of coastal wetlands in Alaska and the Great Lakes, with the objective of understanding the function of these critically important habitats under global change. The Copper River delta, an enormous wetland complex in Alaska, provides the unique opportunity study the impacts of climate change in a relatively pristine environment. In contrast, the coastal wetlands of Lake Michigan provide ideal research sites for exploring responses to human impacts, fisheries management, and restoration. Dr. Lamberti has over 170 publications, most of which have student co-authors, and has edited the Elsevier book entitled Methods in Stream Ecology. Dr. Lamberti is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and past-President of the Society for Freshwater Science, the leading international society for river ecologists.



  • Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2000-Present
  • Director, Stream Ecology Laboratory, University of Notre Dame 1989-Present
  • Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2008-2014
  • Assistant Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2000-2008
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2000-2008
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 1995-2000
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 1989-1995
  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University 1986-1989
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University 1984-1986
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Entomological Sciences, University of California, Berkeley 1983-1984
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley 1983
  • B.S., University of California, Davis 1975


Recent Papers:

  • Hauer, F.R., and G.A. Lamberti (editors). 2006. Methods in Stream Ecology, 2nd Edition. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Evans, N.T. B.P. Olds, M.A. Renshaw, C.R. Turner, C.L. Jerde, A.R. Mahon, M.E. Pfrender, G.A. Lamberti, and D.M. Lodge. In press. Quantification of mesocosm fish and amphibian species richness via environmental DNA-based metagenetic analysis. Molecular Ecology Resources
  • Bobeldyk, A.M., J. Rüegg, and G.A. Lamberti. 2015. Freshwater hotspots of biological invasions are a function of species-pathway interactions. Hydrobiologia 746:363-373. DOI 10.1007/s10750-014-2009-z
  • Janetski, D.J., D.T. Chaloner, A.H. Moerke, P.S. Levi, and G.A. Lamberti. 2014. Novel environmental conditions alter subsidy and engineering effects by introduced Pacific salmon. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71:502–513
  • Cooper, M.J., G.A. Lamberti, and D.G. Uzarski. 2014. Spatial and temporal trends in invertebrate communities of Great Lakes coastal wetlands, with emphasis on Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research Supplement 40:168–182
  • Rüegg, J., C.M. Currier, D.T. Chaloner, S.D. Tiegs, and G.A. Lamberti. 2014. Habitat influences Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) tissue decomposition in riparian and stream ecosystems. Journal of Aquatic Sciences 76:623-632 DOI 10.1007/s00027-014-0359-2
  • Levi, P.S., J.L. Tank, J. Rüegg, D.J. Janetski, S.D. Tiegs, D.T. Chaloner, and G.A. Lamberti. 2013. Whole-stream metabolism response to spawning Pacific salmon in their native and introduced ranges. Ecosystems 16:269-283. DOI 10.1007/s10021-012-9613-4.
  • Levi, P.S., J.L. Tank, S.D. Tiegs, D.T. Chaloner, and G.A. Lamberti. 2013. Biogeochemical transformation of a nutrient subsidy: salmon, streams, and nitrification. Biogeochemistry 113:643-655. DOI 10.1007/s10533-012-9794-0
  • Reisinger, A.J., D.T. Chaloner, J. Rüegg, S.D. Tiegs, and G.A. Lamberti. 2013. Effects of Pacific salmon spawners on the isotopic composition of biota differ across Southeast Alaska streams. Freshwater Biology 58:938-950
  • Shirey, P.A., B.N. Kunycky, D.T. Chaloner, M.A. Brueseke, and G.A. Lamberti. 2013. Commercial trade of federally listed threatened and endangered plants in the United States. Conservation Letters 6:300-316. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12031