People (Join us!)

Erin R. Hotchkiss (she/her)

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences | Faculty Affiliate, Global Change Center | Virginia Tech 

Vice President, Society for Freshwater Science (2023-2024)


Office: Derring Hall 2006B | Phone: +1 540-231-7005 | email: ehotchkiss[at]vt.edu 


Google Scholar | ORCID | @FluvialBenthos on bluesky, twitter, & threads | ResearchGate | LinkedIn | Wiki | Curriculum Vitae


I am an ecologist who uses empirical data and statistical models to understand how environmental change, land-water interactions, and ecosystem processes shape the transport, transformation, and fate of carbon and nutrients in freshwaters. Questions of interest include: How, when, and where do biological processes regulate carbon and nutrient export and emission fluxes at the ecosystem and meta-ecosystem scale? In what ways do climate and landscape changes alter freshwater biogeochemistry, metabolism, and food webs? What is the function and fate of algal and terrestrial organic matter in river networks? I use a combination of monitoring, experimental, and quantitative approaches to study freshwater ecosystems. 

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Caleigh Meehan

M.Sc. Student | Department of Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech


LinkedIn | cemeehan[at]vt.edu 


I’m interested in how landscape changes and anthropogenic inputs impact metabolism, nutrient cycling, and food web dynamics. In the past, I have been able to study gas flux (specifically methane and carbon dioxide) in temporary ponds and the impact of sedimentation on stream metabolism. I’m currently studying salinization in headwater streams impacted by mining practices and its impact on ecosystem metabolism. I hope to connect this with food web dynamics through collaboration with other project members.

Carla López Lloreda 

Ph.D. Student | National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow | Department of Biological Sciences | Interfaces of Global Change Program | Virginia Tech


 @carlalopezpr | LinkedIn | carlalopez[at]vt.edu


I am interested in how freshwater ecosystems process and transport nutrients and solutes across the landscape and how these processes can be different or possibly fundamentally altered after extreme climatic events such as hurricanes and droughts. I have a particular interest in understanding these processes in places that might be more vulnerable to climate change, like tropical islands or coastal ecosystems, with the ultimate goal of understanding the future of our water resources. 

Katherine X. Pérez Rivera 

Ph.D. Student | Fulbright Research Fellow | Department of Biological Sciences | Future Professoriate Program | Virginia Tech


ResearchGate | kperezrivera[at]vt.edu


I am interested in understanding dissolved organic matter and nutrient cycling, transport, processing and exchange in freshwater ecosystems, and how this is influenced by inputs from the surrounding landscape. I am also interested in how water quality changes along river networks as a result of landscape disturbances and determining the drivers that influence the response of aquatic ecosystems to in-stream processing of terrestrial inputs and microbial activity. 

RESEARCH ASSOCIATES

Frances Iannucci, M.Sc. 

Research Associate | MacroCO2 Project | Virginia Tech


LinkedIn | ORCID


My interests center on how aquatic ecosystem structure and function are shifting in the face of climate change, with the goal of considering ecosystem processes from a holistic perspective. Much of my recent research has focused on the response of stream chemistry and metabolism to permafrost thaw in Arctic and boreal ecosystems. Currently I am studying stream carbon cycling at sites across the United States as part of an effort to link aquatic and terrestrial carbon cycles.

UNDERGRADUATE & POSTGRADUATE RESEARCHERS

Emily Mulcahy

Biological Sciences, Wetland Science, & Green Engineering | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research:

Linking oxygen and carbon biogeochemistry with primary production in headwater wetlands (2023-present)

2024 Global Change Center Grant Awardee

Isabella Korobow

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research:

Stream resources, species abundance, & food web structure across biomes* (2023-present)

Evie Dana

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech


Undergraduate Research:

Stream resources, species abundance, & food web structure across biomes* (2023-present)

Peyton Rowe

Environmental Science | Virginia Tech


Undergraduate Research:

Stream resources, species abundance, & food web structure across biomes* (2023-present)

Tiffany Meadows

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech


Undergraduate Research:

Stream resources, species abundance, & food web structure across biomes* (2023-present)

Allyson Kaelin

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech


Undergraduate Research:

Stream resources, species abundance, & food web structure across biomes* (2023-present)

Caroline Brickner

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech


Undergraduate Research:

Stream resources, species abundance, & food web structure across biomes* (2023-present)

Jared Rasmussen

Fish Conservation | Virginia Tech


Undergraduate Research:

Stream resources, species abundance, & food web structure across biomes* (2023-present)

Sarah Masters

Environmental Science | Virginia Tech


Undergraduate Research:

Stream resources, species abundance, & food web structure across biomes* (2023-present)

* Members of the Meta-Ecosystem Ecology Undergraduate Research Team working with Erin from Fall 2023-present

ALUMNI

Graduate Students

Stephen Plont standing in front of lake and mountains

Stephen Plont

Ph.D., Biological Sciences | Interfaces of Global Change Fellow | National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow | Virginia Tech | 2023

Dissertation: Moving beyond the stream reach: Assessing how confluences alter ecosystem function and water quality in freshwater networks


@stephenplont | ResearchGate 


Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama

Kristen Bretz hiking on snowy trail

Kristen Bretz

Ph.D., Biological Sciences | Interfaces of Global Change Fellow | Virginia Tech | 2023

Dissertation: Headwater stream network connectivity: Biogeochemical consequences and carbon fate


@ka_bretz | ResearchGate | website | kabretz[at]vt.edu


Currently: Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research, Virginia Tech

Mohammed Hamdan coring through ice on experimental ponds in Sweden

Mohammed Hamdan

Ph.D., Ecology | Umeå University, Sweden | 2021

Dissertation: Effects of temperature and terrestrial carbon on primary production in lake ecosystems


ResearchGate 


Co-supervised by Jan Karlsson, Pär Byström, & Erin Hotchkiss

Currently: Instructor & Researcher, University of Baghdad, Iraq

Brynn O'Donnell with nutrient uptake sampling equipment

Brynn O'Donnell

M.Sc., Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech | 2019

Thesis: The flow regime of function: Influence of flow changes on biogeochemical processes in streams 


LinkedIn | Submerge Podcast


Currently: Social Impact Program Manager, Filecoin Foundation

Marie Gérardin sampling the Romaine River complex in Québec, Canada

Marie Gérardin

M.Sc., Biology | Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada | 2019

Thesis: Sources et facteurs menant à la sursaturation en CO2 et CH4 des rivieres boreales 


ResearchGate


Primary supervisor: Paul del Giorgio; Additional mentors: Erin Hotchkiss & Joan P Casas Ruiz

Emelie Landström measuring stream benthic pigments in Krycklan, Sweden

Emelie Landström

M.Sc., Ecology | Umeå University, Sweden | 2015

Thesis: Resource use by macro-invertebrates within boreal stream food webs


LinkedIn


Primary supervisor: Jan Karlsson; Additional mentors: Erin Hotchkiss & Ryan Sponseller

Currently: Environmental Specialist, Swedish Transport Administration (Miljöspecialist på Trafikverket)

Postdoctoral Fellows

Sarah Ellen Johnston (she/her)

National Science Foundation (NSF) Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow | 2021-2022

Research topic: Organic carbon transformations from a mountain to grassland transitional river network in Southern Alberta, Canada


Google Scholar | ResearchGate 


Mentors: Matthew Bogard (University of Lethbridge) & Erin Hotchkiss (Virginia Tech)

Position after this postdoc: Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Kelly Hondula

Postdoctoral Fellow | National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) | 2021-2022

Research topic: Using remote sensing data to characterize aquatic ecosystems at broad scales


@kellyproof | Google Scholar 


Mentors: Robert Hensley (NEON), Mirela Tulbure (North Carolina State University), & Erin Hotchkiss (Virginia Tech)

Position after this postdoc: Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Arizona State University

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Researchers, Virginia Tech

Cleo Orlando 

Microbiology & Chemistry | Virginia Tech

Undergraduate Research:

Exploring nutrient cycling and microbial activity in retention ponds and surrounding waterways (2023)

2023 Fralin Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Awardee

Gavriel Cambridge 

Biological Systems Engineering | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research:

Changing hydrologic connections and carbon emissions across beaver-influenced stream corridors & headwater wetlands (2021-2023)

2022 Virginia Water Resources Research Center Student Research Grant Awardee

Carmen Curry

Environmental Science & Ecological Restoration | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research:

Drying-rewetting dynamics in a non-perennial forested stream (2023)

Hiya Barai 

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Field Study:

Water quality dynamics along a stream network (2023)

Sarah Mitchener

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research: 

Stream ecology and water quality patterns in different eco-regions of the United States (2021-2022)

VT 2023

Natalie Murphy

Biochemistry | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research:

Spatial patterns of intermittency and microbial metabolism in mining-impacted and reference streams (2019-2022)

2021 Global Change Center Grant Awardee

VT 2022

Morgan Wood

Environmental Informatics | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research:

Microbial metabolism in fluvial networks (2021)

VT 2021

Kelly Crum

Water: Resources, Policy, and Management | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research: 

Biological controls on water quality in intermittent and warming headwater streams (2021)

VT 2021

Felicity deToll

Environmental Sciences | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research: 

Connecting carbon cycling with nutrient loads in wetlands (2021)

2021 Fralin Summer Research Fellow

VT 2022

Lauren Morris

Biological Sciences & Green Engineering | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research: 

Ecological applications of high-frequency data and ecosystem metabolism estimates (2020-2021)

VT 2022

Bryce Onozuka

Biological Sciences & Economics | Virginia Tech

Undergraduate Research:

Global patterns of photosynthesis and respiration in running waters (2020-2021)

VT 2021

Cameron Braswell hiking in the woods

Cameron Braswell

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research:

Carbon metabolism in streams and rivers: Confluence- to global-scale assessments (2019-2021)

VT 2021

AJ Jackson at frozen Cascade Falls in Virginia

Alexis "AJ" Jackson

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech

@itsAJrenee | LinkedIn

 Undergraduate Research: 

Carbon emissions from riparian wetlands (2019-2020)

2019 NSF REU Fellow; 2020 Global Change Center Grant Awardee; 2020 SFS Instars Fellow; & 2020 Virginia Tech Undergraduate Research Excellence Awardee

2021 NSF GRFP Awardee

VT 2020

Jack Monroe measuring stream water from Walls Branch in a graduated cylinder

Jonathon "Jack" Monroe

Biological Sciences, Microbiology, & Chemistry | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research: 

Microbial metabolic fingerprints in intermittent headwater streams (2019-2020)

2019 Global Change Center Grant Awardee & 2019-2020 Robert Jones Undergraduate Research Excellence Awardee

VT 2020

Jake Riney and a stuffed bear

Jake Riney

Computer Science & Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech

@algaesus | LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research:

Ecosystem metabolism at stream confluences (2019-2020)

VT 2020

Shawn Becker hiking in the woods with students

Shawn Becker

Science Teacher | Gate City High School

NSF RET Fellow: 

Rapid assessment of ecosystem respiration in streams and rivers (2019)

Sumaiya Rahman measuring water quality at a sensor monitoring station in Stroubles Creek, Virginia

Sumaiya Rahman

Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech

Undergraduate Research:

Influence of storm magnitude on dissolved oxygen in streams (2018); Greenhouse gas emissions from terrestrial-aquatic interfaces and temporary waterways (2018-2019)

2018 NSF REU Fellow

VT 2019

Caitlin Miller on the beach holding a horseshoe crab

Caitlin Miller

Wildlife Conservation, Biological Sciences, & Wetland Science | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research: 

Stream confluence dissolved organic matter dynamics (2018-2019)

VT 2019

Jacob Beckner holding a fish at a hatchery

Jacob Beckner

Fish Conservation | Virginia Tech

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Ecology Research & Teaching:

Freshwater ecology, species invasions, and meta-ecosystem food webs (2019)

VT 2020

Morgan Gallagher on a ridge overlooking mountains in Virginia

Morgan Gallagher

Environmental Science & French | Virginia Tech 

LinkedIn | ResearchGate  | website 

Undergraduate Research: 

Greenhouse Gas Dynamics in Streams - Sources, Patterns, Processes (2017-2019)

2018-2019 Fralin Research Fellow; 2019 Fulbright Fellow; & 2019 NSF GRFP Awardee

VT 2019

Melissa Castillo measuring water quality in Stroubles Creek at the Walls Branch confluence

Melissa Castillo

Pre-Health Sciences | Salt Lake Community College

LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research

Organic matter sources and carbon metabolism in streams (2018)

2018 MAOP Research Fellow

Schuyler van Montfrans in the classroom

Schuyler van Montfrans

Teacher | Decatur High School

NSF RET Fellow

Temporal variability in carbon and nutrient demands in a dynamic urban stream (2018)

Quentin Pitts at Cascades Falls in Virginia

Quentin Pitts

 Biological Sciences | Virginia Tech

Undergraduate Research

How does stream salinization alter dissolved organic matter dynamics? (2018)

VT 2018

Visiting Researchers, Virginia Tech

Victoria Julieta García

Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2018)

Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas, Argentina 

 ResearchGate

Undergraduate Biological Sciences Field Study, Virginia Tech 

2023: Hiya Barai & Emily Mulcahy 

2020: Lauren Morris & Bryce Onozuka

2019: Cameron Braswell & Natalie Murphy

2018: Emily Byrd, Jack Monroe, Hank Liu, & Caitlin Miller

2017: Sumaiya Rahman, Quentin Pitts, & Jonathan Cordle

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Researchers, University of Wyoming 

Paige Hellbaum (2012-2013), Jessica Neuwerth (2012-2013), Amy Saville Rhoad (2011-2013), Noah Berg-Mattson (2011-2012), Clark Johnson (2011-2012), Sarah Gregory (2010-2011), Trista Niekum Coble (2009-2011), Sahale Casebolt (2009), Brenna Hansen (2008-2009), Tamara Lehnertz Bretting (2007-2008), Elias Anoszko (2007), & Joshua Theurer (2007)

Pictures of undergraduate and post-graduate researchers from the University of Wyoming