Julian Olden

  • Associate Professor, SAFS

Research areas

My research program spans multiple levels of biological organization and modes of inquiry to advance the science and practice of conserving freshwater ecosystems. My principal interests include ecohydrology (dams, environmental flows), community ecology (freshwater fishes, amphibians, invertebrates), invasion biology (science and development of management tools), macroecology (testing and advancing the field of biogeography), climate change (impacts and adaptation strategies), and conservation biology (science and implementation at local and regional scales). Although my research program focuses on these major areas, my enthusiasm for research bridges both basic and applied ecology. A common thread throughout this research is a strong emphasis on the application of quantitative approaches to data analysis, including the development of innovative statistical techniques for exploring complex ecological data.

My approach to science has been shaped by numerous experiences with professors, students and collaborators over the years. I pursue my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, and it was during this time that my passion for ecological research and freshwater conservation was first sparked; specifically while hauling nets choked with squirming white suckers from central Ontario lakes. Next, I received my M.Sc. from the University of Toronto (fish community ecology in lakes), my PhD from Colorado State University (conservation of endangered southwestern fishes) and then I was awarded a David H. Smith Conservation Fellowship to conduct postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin (aquatic invasive species ecology and management).

I am always on the lookout for motivated and hard-working students who have a passion for the conservation of freshwaters and their inhabitants. See Prospective Graduate Students for more information.


Areas of Expertise

  • Freshwater ecology
  • Conservation
  • Invasive species
  • Climate change
  • Biostatistics
  • Water resources
  • Science communication

Community Engagement and Awards

Advisory Boards

  • Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, University of Washington, Steering Committee
  • Freshwater Working Group, Society of Conservation Biology, Board Member
  • Policy Rapid Response Team, Ecological Society of America
  • Board of Directors, Freshwaters Illustrated
  • Editorial Board for Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Ecological Applications, Elementa, and Ideas in Ecology and Evolution


  • Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow – Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment (2015–2016)
  • Early Career Fellow – Ecological Society of America (2013–2015)
  • Mason Keeler Endowed Professor – UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (2012–2018)
  • Stevenson Award – Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research (2011)
  • Outstanding Researcher Award – UW College of the Environment (2010)
  • Early Career Conservationist Award – Society for Conservation Biology (2010)
  • David H. Smith Conservation Postdoctoral Fellowship – Cedar Tree Foundation (2004–2006)

Selected publications