As an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist, Dr. Lauren Koenig’s research focuses on how energy and nutrients are stored and transformed in freshwater environments. For her postdoctoral research, she is working with Dr. Ashley Helton. She is working on scaling stream metabolic regimes to whole river networks. Lauren says, “this research is exciting because I am building on my previous work that focused on primary production and respiration at small spatial scales to understand the emergent properties of river networks, which we currently know little about, but are important for understanding the contribution of freshwater ecosystems to continental carbon and nutrient budgets.”
Previously, for her dissertation research, she used high-frequency automated sensors to quantify CO2 emissions from New Hampshire streams and estimated how much of the net CO2 emitted from streams comes from aquatic respiration versus terrestrial respiration that is transported from soils to streams.
Lauren finds ecosystem science exciting because of its emphasis on the functional workings of ecological systems as well as the diverse fields that inform our science, including hydrology, soil science, ecology, geochemistry, and geomorphology. After completing her undergraduate degree by the ocean at UC Santa Barbara, she began focusing on freshwater ecosystems after taking part in summer research looking into the effects of drought on algal food webs in streams of the Sierra Nevada.
“I am interested in studying stream and river ecosystems because of their close yet dynamic connection with the terrestrial landscape, and because understanding the response of nutrient and carbon cycling processes to environmental change has important implications for freshwater resources that we all depend on.” Lauren looks forward to conducting her postdoctoral research at UConn and exploring the hiking trails that Connecticut has to offer.