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.



  • Director, GLOBES Graduate Certificate Program in Environment and Society 2015-Present
  • Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, IN 2000-Present
  • Director, Stream and Wetland Ecology Laboratory, University of Notre Dame, IN 1989-Present
  • Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, IN 2008-2014
  • Assistant Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, IN 2000-2008
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, IN 2000-2008
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, IN 1995-2000
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, IN 1989-1995
  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, OR 1986-1989
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, OR 1984-1986
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Entomological Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, CA 1983-1984
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, CA 1983
  • B.S., University of California, Davis, CA 1975


Recent Publications:

  • Vizza, C., J.L. Pechal, M.E. Benbow, J.M. Lang, D.T. Chaloner, S.E. Jones, and A. Lamberti. In press. Nitrate amendment reduces biofilm biomass and shifts microbial communities in remote, oligotrophic ponds. Freshwater Science (online prior to publication).
  • Gerig, B.S., D.N. Weber, D.T. Chaloner, L.M. McGill, and A. Lamberti. In press. Interactive effects of introduced Pacific salmon and brown trout on native brook trout: an experimental and modeling approach. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (online prior to publication).
  • Gerig, B.S., D.T. Chaloner, D.J. Janetski, A.H. Moerke, R.A. Rediske, J.P. O'Keefe, D. de Alwis Pitts, and A. Lamberti. 2018. Environmental context and contaminant biotransport by Pacific salmon interact to mediate the bioaccumulation of contaminants by stream-resident fish. Journal of Applied Ecology 2018:1-14.
  • Evans, N.T., and G.A. Lamberti. 2018. Freshwater fisheries assessment using environmental DNA:  A primer on the method, its potential, and shortcomings as a conservation tool.  Fisheries Research 197:60-66.
  • Hauer, F.R., andA. Lamberti (editors). 2017. Methods in Stream Ecology, Third Edition. Volume 1: Ecosystem Structure. Elsevier, London, UK. 494 pp.
  • Lamberti, G.A., and F.R. Hauer (editors). Methods in Stream Ecology, Third Edition. Volume 2: Ecosystem Function. Elsevier, London, UK. 362 pp.
  • McGill, L.M., B.S. Gerig, D.T. Chaloner, and G.A. Lamberti. 2017. An ecosystem model for evaluating the effects of introduced Pacific salmon on contaminant burdens of stream-resident fish. Ecological Modelling 355:39-48.
  • Vizza, , J.A. Zwart, S.E. Jones, S.D. Tiegs, and G. A. Lamberti. 2017. Landscape patterns shape wetland pond ecosystem function from glacial headwaters to ocean. Limnology and Oceanography 62:S207-S221.
  • Evans, N.T., Y. Li, M.A. Renshaw, B.P. Olds, K. Deiner, C.R. Turner, C.L. Jerde, D.M. Lodge, A. Lamberti, and M.E. Pfrender. 2017. Fish community assessment with eDNA metabarcoding: effects of sampling design and bioinformatic filtering. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 74:1362-1374.
  • Vizza, C., W.E. West, S.E. Jones, J.A. Hart, and A. Lamberti. 2017. Regulators of coastal wetland methane production and responses to simulated global change. Biogeosciences 14:431-446.
  • Evans, N.T., P.D. Shirey, J.G. Wieringa, A.R. Mahan, and A. Lamberti. 2017. Comparative cost and effort of fish distribution detection via environmental DNA analysis and electrofishing. Fisheries 42:90-99. (Note: Cover Featured Article)
  • Uzarski, D.G., and 26 others including A. Lamberti. 2017. Standardized measures of coastal wetland condition: Implementation at a Laurentian Great Lakes basin-wide scale. Wetlands 37:15-32.