Gordon Holtgrieve

  • Assistant Professor, SAFS

Research areas

I am an ecosystem ecologist with wide-ranging interests, including how animals control ecosystem functioning, terrestrial-aquatic linkages, global biogeochemical cycles, and fisheries conservation. My research focuses on:

1) Understanding how ecological diversity leads to productivity and stability in dynamic human-natural resource systems, using global inland fishery systems as a model.
2) Sources and transfer of carbon through aquatic food webs.
3) How animals interact with their physical environment and each other to control aquatic ecosystem functions such as primary productivity and nutrient cycling.
4) Stable isotope techniques to elucidate biogeochemical processes at local to global scales.
5) Applying hierarchical and Bayesian statistical modeling techniques to biogeochemical data. A large component of my work involves using geochemical tracers to gain insight into how nutrients and energy flow at local to global scales. I take an interdisciplinary approach to science and borrow among seemingly disparate disciplines.

Currently, fieldwork in the lab is focused either in the Lower Mekong Basin or Puget Sound. The long-term goal of our Mekong research is to quantify the ecological links within the Mekong-Tonle Sap Lake food web to understand the combination of factors that maintain this highly productive ecosystem. In the Puget Sound, we are studying sources and fate of anthropogenic nitrogen in rivers and how metabolism and biogenic gas fluxes in the Elwah change after dam removal.

Interested in furthering your education in my lab?  Please see my Prospective Students page.


  • QSCI 381: Introduction to Probability and Statistics (Autumn)
  • FISH 447: Watershed Ecology (Spring)

Areas of Expertise

  • Ecosystem ecology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Freshwater fisheries
  • Food webs
  • Stable isotope ecology

Community Engagement and Awards

Advisory Boards

  • International advisor, Mekong River Commission Fisheries Programme


  • 2012 G.E. Likens Award for an outstanding paper by an early career scientist. Ecological Society of America Biogeosciences Section

Selected publications