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Dr. Richard W Koch standing in the woods

Dr. Richard W Koch



Office: S 214

Phone: (218) 755-2795

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Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN: 2002 - present

Professor in Department of Biology

Nielson-Cram Endowed Chair of Wetland Ecology

Courses include: wetlands Ecology, Aquatic Plants and Phycology, General Ecology, People and the Environment, Ecosystems Ecology

Undergraduate and graduate student advising. Current Graduate Students include:

Carolyn Towler...


Specialty Skills

  • Wetland delineation
  • GIS analysis and mapping using ARC/Info and ARC/View
  • Primary and secondary production analyses techniques
  • Radioactive and stable isotopes in foodweb analysis
  • Data management, analysis and presentation (SAS; Sigma, Corel, Microsoft programs)
  • Taxonomy: wetland plants, grasses, phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, macro-invertebrates
  • Boating experience: 30' Pontoon, 25' Sea Ark, 18' Boston Whaler, various Jon boats
  • Field equipment (Hydrolab, LICOR, ORION instruments; electrofishing)
  • Laboratory equipment (use of spectrophotometer, GC, Mass Spec., Atomic Absorption, ICP, CHN analyzer, multi-ion probes, TOC analyzer, image analysis)
  • SCUBA certified: NAUI open-water (arctic lakes, temperate rivers, marine systems)


Ph.D. 2001. University of Louisville, Louisville, KY (Environmental Science). Factors regulating phytoplankton and bacterial activities in large rivers and their impoundments. Ph.D. advisor: P.A. Bukaveckas

M.S. 1996. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH (Biology). Hydrological influences on autochthonous production and benthic macroinvertebrate heterogeneity of an Ohio river floodplain, southeast Indiana. M.S. advisor: M.C. Miller

B.A. 1990. Thomas More College, Crestview Hills, KY (Biology).

Research Interests:

  • Wetlands ecology
  • Aquatic plants
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Microbial ecology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Ecosystems ecology

Research Experience:

Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN: 2002 - present

Assistant Professor in Department of Biology, Nielson-Cram Endowed Chair of Wetland Ecology. Carbon and nutrient cycling in wetlands and forested watersheds, plant-faunal interactions in bogs and fens, effects of forest fires on aquatic plants and re-vegetation of Minnesota lakeshores with native vegetation.

North Central Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Grand Rapids, MN. 2001-2002.

Post-doctoral scientist. Influence of wetlands, geomorphology and riparian vegetation on carbon and nutrient flux from forested watersheds. Landscape analysis of land-use characteristics using GIS and areal photography. Stable isotope analysis of aquatic foodwebs.

Additional projects: Connectivity of small forested wetlands with upland communities. Evaluation of current NWI identification protocol and MN guidelines of riparian buffers. Modeling effects of lakeshore development on littoral vegetation and water quality. Ecological assessment of lakeshore restoration projects in southern Minnesota.

University of Louisville, Louisville, KY: 1996-2000. (Doctoral Dissertation)

Graduate research assistant. Investigations into carbon and nutrient dynamics in the Ohio River and tributary impoundments, with emphasis on bacteria, algae and zooplankton

Additional projects: Stable isotope analysis of riverine foodwebs to assess the importance of floodplain macrophytes and instream phytoplankton production. [funded through DOE, NSF-SGER and Uof L's Center for Watershed Research]

Arctic Tundra Long-Term Ecological Research Site, Toolik, AK: 1993-95 (Jun-Aug)

Graduate research assistant/ technician. Carbon and nitrogen fixation in tundra wetlands, lakes and rivers. Nutrient and light influences on primary production in lakes and streams. Sediment-hypolimnion chemical interactions [funded through NSF-LTER].

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH: 1992-1995. (Masters Thesis)

Graduate research assistant. Carbon interactions between floodplain wetlands and rivers.

Riverine wetland biotic and functional response to seasonal flooding, with emphasis on connectivity of wetlands and the river mainstem. Ecological studies emphasized aquatic macrophytes, benthic invertebrates, phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish. [funded through Oxbow Inc. and DOE-EPSCOR]

Additional projects:

Uranium testing in aquatic foodwebs, Fernald superfund site Environmental Enterprises Inc., Cincinnati, OH: 1990-94

Environmental chemist/ Laboratory coordinator. Analytical chemistry for industrial/private sectors on wastewater, soils and drinking water. Designed and managed sampling regimes for environmental monitoring. 100+ clients monthly. Management of 20 lab personnel in 3 departments: wet chemistry, GC/MS, heavy metals, TCLP extractions. Familiarization with analytical instruments including ICP, AA, GC/MS, spectrophotometers, multi-ion analyzers

Thomas More College Ohio River Biol. Field Station, California, KY: 1987-89

Undergraduate researcher. Effect of electrical power plants on the fish, macroinvertebrate and phytoplankton communities in the Ohio River. Monitoring effects of thermal out-plumes, dredging, suspension of sediments by transportation barges. Fish collection via electro-shocking and gillnets. Fish, invertebrate, and phytoplankton taxonomy.

Professional Organizations:

  • Society of Wetland Scientists
  • North American Benthological Society
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  • Mississippi River Research Consortium
  • Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research and Education

Service in Professional Organizations:

Co-organizer, 1997 Annual Meeting of Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference.