Education  Experience  Teaching  Research  Publications

William (Breck)enridge Bowden

(See and

Education        (Top)

Ph.D. 1982      North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

                        Conducted at Marine Biological Laboratory: 1976‑1982

                        Research Area:  biogeochemistry of nitrogen in coastal ecosystems

M.S.     1976    North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

                        Research Area:  microbial numbers and biomass in aquatic ecosystems

B.S.      1973   University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

                        Majors: Zoology and Chemistry

Experience      (Top)

2010-present, Chair, Technical Advisory Committee for the Lake Champlain Basin Program.  Manage a committee of technical experts from two state and one provincial (Quebec) jurisdictions and provide advice about technical issues and needs relevant to management of the resources in the Lake Champlain basin.  The Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee is a de facto member of the Lake Champlain Executive and Steering Committees as well.

2008-present, Principal Investigator, Theme 1, Northeastern States Research Collaborative, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Burlington, Vermont. Manage an interdisciplinary research program on the integration of resource management and socio-economic concerns in the northern forests of the New England region.

2004-present, Director, Vermont Water Resources and Lake Study Center, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Burlington, Vermont. Manage and develop resources relevant to the water resources of the state of Vermont and the Lake Champlain region.

2002-present, Robert & Genevieve Patrick Professor of Watershed Science & Planning, School of Natural Resources, Burlington, Vermont. Provide leadership in teaching, research and community service, focused on management of natural resources through an approach to watershed management that integrates environmental, social, and economic considerations and approaches.

2002-present, Research Associate, Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand. Provide advice and guidance for research that is focused on integrated management of land and water resources in regional-scale catchments.

1997-2002, Programme Leader, Integrated Catchment Management Programme, Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand. Provide overall science leadership for a national research program focussed on integrated management of land and water resources in regional-scale catchments. Manage collaborative subcontracts with four other national laboratories. Maintain communication and collaboration with key government and industry stakeholders. Report to key managers within the company and to the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science & Technology.

1997-2002, Team Leader, Catchment and Biospheric Processes, Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand. Provide direct human resources support and guidance for a team of 15 science staff. Identify and develop consulting opportunities to minimize the un-funded time of team members. Identify career training and development opportunities. Conduct annual performance appraisals and recommend merit increases and bonuses.

1992-1997, Associate Professor (Tenured) and Curriculum Coordinator, Water Resources Management, Department of Natural Resources, UNH, Durham, NH. Taught a General Education course in freshwater resources and upper class courses in Wetland Resources Management and Field Wetland Ecology. Lead Senior Research Projects on alternate years. Team taught an introductory course for Natural Resources department majors. Supervised, on demand, independent study and senior thesis projects. Developed independent research programs focussed on various aspects of land and water management.

1993-1994, Visiting Scientist, Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand. Sabbatical leave. Conducted a study of hillslope flow processes in a native tussock grassland, wetland, and stream system on the South Island (Glendhu Forest).

1987‑1992, Assistant Professor and Curriculum Coordinator, Water Resources Management, Department of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH. As for 1992-1997.

1987-1989, Director and Advisor, Hubbard Brook Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. Directed a summer program for 10 undergraduate students who worked on research projects at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.

1984‑1986, Lecturer in Water Resources, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Taught a graduate student course in hydrology and water resources management.

1982‑1984, Associate in Research (Post-Doctoral Fellow), School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Effect of whole‑tree harvesting on gaseous nitrogen emissions from soils. With Dr. Herbert Bormann.

1979‑1982, Graduate Research Associate, The Ecosystems Center, Marine  Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. Nitrogen cycling in a freshwater tidal wetland. With Dr. John E. Hobbie.

1973‑1978, Project Consultant or Research Assistant:

                        Boston University Marine Program, Woods Hole, MA

                        The Ecosystems Center, MBL, Woods Hole, MA

                        Water Resources Research Institute, Raleigh, NC

                        Sea Grant Program, NCSU, Raleigh, NC

                        S.E. Fish and Game Statistics Project, NCSU, Raleigh, NC

Teaching interests and experience     (Top)

Courses taught

Ecological Risk (Watershed) Assessment (ENSC 202, UVM, Spring 2003-present):  A senior capstone course in the UVM Environmental Sciences major focusing on the science underpinning resource management at the watershed scale.

Ecological Stoichiometry (ENSC 285, UVM, Fall 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010):  A senior-to-graduate level seminar focused on recent research on interactions between biogeochemical dynamics and food webs in an ecosystem context.

Fate and Transport of Pollutants (ENSC 160, UVM, Fall 2010).  A junior-level course required in the UVM Environmental Sciences major, focusing on quantitative methods to estimate dynamics of pollutants in the environment.  Section of lectures on water.

Environmental Hydrology (NR285, with Beverley Wemple, Geography):  A senior-to-graduate level, project-based, quantitative course designed to provide students with an interest in natural resources management with the essential theory and technical knowledge they need to communicate effectively with hydrologic engineers and consultants.

Geomorphic Assessment of Stormwater Impacted Urban Streams (ESNC 285B, Spring 2005):  A senior-to-graduate level, projected based, service learning course supported by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation, River Management Section. The seminar was focussed on development of a benchmark database of stream geomorphic metrics for stormwater impacted streams in Chittenden County Vermont and improvement of the protocols developed by ANR/DEC to better assess and monitor these streams. The seminar was a precursor to a field campaign conducted in the summer of 2005 to quantify the stream geomorphic metrics. 

Stream Ecosystem Modeling (ENSC 285, UVM, Fall 2003):  A senior-to-graduate level seminar focused on the biogeochemistry of whole-stream ecosystems at the reach scale.

Urban Stormwater Management (ENSC 285, UVM, Fall 2003):  A senior-to-graduate level seminar focused on modeling stormwater dynamics in traditional and green-engineered urban and sub-urban systems.

Urban Watershed Management (NR 285, UVM, Fall 2002):  A senior-to-graduate level seminar focused on urban sprawl and its impacts on water resources.

Independent studies (UNH, as required):  Individual senior research projects.

Critical Analysis in Water Resources Management (UNH, 1996-1997):  A senior and graduate level seminar focused on readings and analysis of topical water resource management issues.

Land use seminar (UNH, 1988-1989, 1992):  A senior ‘cap-stone’ course focused on a real and current resource management problem approached as a group research project.

Wetlands Resources Management and Wetland Field Ecology (UNH, annually from 1989 to 1997):  Two linked courses for seniors, graduate students, and continuing education professionals. Focusing on wetland types, identification, ecology, and management. The field course focused on practical skills needed to assess the ecology of different wetland types.

Water Resources Management (UNH annually from 1987-1997):  The water cycle, nutrient cycles, water policy and regulation, and water management issues for both majors in natural resources and non-majors.

Catchment Hydrology (Yale University 1985-1986): Water cycle and water processes for graduate students in the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies graduate program.

Research interests and experience     (Top)

Note:  Additional information on these projects can be found at my personal web sites:

    See the ‘Research’ link

           Bowden Watershed Research Lab

General : Interactions between hydrological and biogeochemical processes, especially as these processes are influenced by land use practices and land cover characteristics at catchment scales. Uptake and use of science knowledge by resource managers, policy makers, and community stakeholders.

Active Research Areas

Changing Seasonality in the Arctic System:  This is a new suite of 3 major projects funded by the Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation that build on my 20+ years of experience in arctic research (see below). In 2008 I initiated a collaborative project with colleagues across the United States and in Canada to take a systems approach to quantify the environmental consequences of thawing permafrost on that structure and function of the arctic landscape.  This project is focused on the formation of thermokarst failure features (a physical disturbance to the soil that can occur when frozen ground thaws) on hydrological, biogeochemical, microbial, soil, vegetation, geomorphological, and social processes in the arctic. I am the lead Principal Investigator on this project, which includes 14 other collaborating PIs and 12 graduate students, technicians and post-doctoral researchers. See for additional details. Beginning 2008 I worked with a group of 10 other collaborators to investigate the ecological consequences of a highly unusual tundra wild fire. Until recently wildfires were virtually unheard of in the tundra biome.  The Anaktuvuk Burn that occurred in late 2007 burned over 1000 square kilometers near the Toolik Field Station, our research base, and is the largest arctic tundra fire on record. We hypothesize that fire may become a more important component of the arctic landscape in a future, warmer arctic landscape and are using the Anaktuvuk Burn as a natural laboratory to understand how fire affects the tundra environment.  Finally, in 2009 I initiated a project with 2 other colleagues to examine the effects of changing seasonality on stream nutrient and material processing.  Warming in the arctic is extending the snow- and frost-free seasons in the spring and autumn.  However, plants continue to bloom and senesce on the basis of sunlight (day length) cues.  Thus there is growing asynchrony in demand for nutrients and plants and production of nutrients by soil microbes that has important consequences for the way that nutrients and carbon are processed in arctic streams.  See for additional details. 

Influences of hyporheic dynamics on nutrient processing in arctic tundra streams: A related contribution to the same program. The key findings of this on-going research are that hyporheic processes are of fundamental importance to clear understanding of C, N, and P turnover in arctic tundra stream; a finding that was unexpected. In August 2003 I received a new, multi-year award from NSF, with co-PIs from Utah State University (Dr. Michael Gooseff) and Boise State University (Drs. Jim McNamara and John Bradford) to study the potential impacts of climate change in the Arctic on stream hyporheic dynamics. Additional information on this and related projects can be found at

Linkages between benthic primary production and nitrogen cycling in Arctic tundra streams, North Slope, Alaska: A contribution to a large, inter-disciplinary program to better understand the basic ecosystem ecology of Arctic tundra landscapes, through an investigation of “bottom-up and top-down” controls on ecosystem processing. Since 1987 my research has contributed to a better understanding of Arctic streams ecosystems. The key findings of this on-going research are that benthic primary production is fundamental controller of N and P cycling in these streams and that the balance of N and P inputs has profound influences on the structure and function of the benthic autotrophic community structure and function. More information on this research program can be found at

Vermont Flow Monitoring Project: In 2004 the Water Resources Board created a stakeholder-driven process to develop a scientific rationale for the management of stormwater in Vermont.  The group concluded that stream flow data alone could be used to target actions to reduce stormwater pollution.  Based on this decision, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (VTANR) developed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analyses for some stormwater impaired streams in Vermont, which have subsequently been accepted by the USEPA. The original TMDL analyses were based on synthetic stream flow values produced by Tetratech using the P8 model.  Although the model was partially validated using stream flow data from selected streams in the Vermont and New York area, the lack of historic data for the specific streams that VTANR has identified as impaired by stormwater presents a serious challenge to validate any hydrologic model or to select hydrologic targets.  In addition, VTANR realized that without “benchmark” data providing a basis for comparison, future monitoring efforts to assess the effectiveness of mitigation efforts would be difficult. Thus, beginning in 2005 VTANR sought to address this lack of data and has contracted with my lab to monitor precipitation and stream flow in stormwater-impaired and attainment streams through the state. This management objective is leading to interesting new research on simple indicators of hydrologic alteration to small urban streams in Vermont.  For additional information see   

Impacts of Transportation Infrastructure on Stream Ecosystem: Transportation infrastructure is a major source of stormwater runoff that can alter hydrology and contribute significant loading of nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants to surface waters. These increased loads frequently lead to impaired receiving waters, as is the case for streams throughout the Lake Champlain basin, as well as the Lake itself. We have eselected six watersheds that represent the range of road types (gravel and paved) and road densities (rural, suburban, and urban) present in Chittenden County, Vermont and have characterized the road networks for each watershed using GIS (geographic information systems) analysis. Monitoring stations in each watershed were constructed and instrumented to measure discharge and water quality parameters continuously from spring through early winter. Storm event composite samples and monthly water chemistry grab samples have been collected and analyzed for total nutrients, chloride, and total suspended sediments. Preliminary results from two field seasons of monitoring suggest that road type and road density may be closely linked with the level of impairment in each watershed.  For additional information on this project see

Water quality monitoring in the National Park Service Northeastern Temperate Network: The Northeast Temperate Network (NETN) was established by the National Park Service to monitor ecological conditions in eleven parks located throughout seven northeastern states. The vital signs include physical, chemical, and biogeochemical indicators intended to represent overall health or condition of park resources. My has been monitoring water quality within the network since 2006. The majority of that work has consisted of implementing the network's stream and pond monitoring protocol. More recently we have included a wetland monitoring component.  These monitoring efforts have lead to a research interest in the importance mercury accumulation and methylation in vernal pools, a critical habitat for amphibian species.  The data collected for NETN is used in a multitude of ways to inform park planning decisions, evaluate the effectiveness of management decisions or restoration efforts, provide early warning of potential threats, and promote public understanding of park resources. Addition information on my lab’s contribution to this project can be found at  The National Park Service web site for NETN is at

Stormwater management utilizing low-impact designs in urbanizing landscapes:  In 2003 I initiated a research program with several colleagues from the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resource and the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics that is focused on stormwater management issues that are currently a critical challenge to resource management and economic development in Vermont. The “Redesigning the American Neighborhood” (RAN) is a collaboration of several different projects that are designed to assess public attitudes and understanding of stormwater processes and issues, monitor effects of stormwater on suburban streams, and demonstrate the utility of alternative low-impact stormwater management options. This program has already drawn considerable local attention and provides information that is essential to address these pressing issues.  The project has developed strong collaborations with the City of South Burlington, Vermont and with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation. More information about the RAN program can be found at

Previous Research Experience

Integrated management of land and water resources in complex catchments: Until 2002 I was the Program Leader this suite of projects focused on research relevant to adaptive management of land and water resources in urban and intensively-utilized rural catchments. The core research focuses on surface-water/groundwater interactions, land use impacts on river water quality, characterization of riparian structure and function, catchment scale hydrological modeling, marine biogeochemical processes, and development of publicly-accessible knowledge bases linked to GIS databases and Web interfaces. Information about the program is disseminated via an interactive web site ( I continue to maintain a working relationship with my former New Zealand colleagues and to identify opportunities for collaborative projects.

Flow path dynamics at hillslope to catchment scales: Hydrodynamics of runoff processes in landscapes under different land use. Recent research has focused on storm event hydrodynamics in tussock grasslands with native cover compared with those afforested with Radiata pine and on runoff processes in pasture land that may be subject to municipal development or modified farm management.

Environmental impacts of applying municipal biosolids in forest lands (New England and New Zealand):  Land application of biosolids (solid wastes from municipal and industrial waster water treatment) has the potential to be an inexpensive alternative to traditional engineered waste treatment options and can substantially improve soil moisture and nutrient qualities with economic benefits in farming and forestry applications. However, inappropriate applications can lead to environmental degradation and potential health risks. I have conducted research on the effects of biosolid loading rates on nutrient uptake by vegetation uptake and loss through soil leaching, in both the Northeast, USA and in New Zealand. The key finding from this research was that mechanisms that limit NO3 leaching losses will typically tend to limit the losses of other solutes that might be of concern in surface and ground water. With careful attention to the nature of the material being applied and the characteristics of the target environment, land application of biosolids can be a safe and economical alternative.

The Lotic Intersite Nitrogen Experiment (LINX): comparative nitrogen cycling in North American headwater streams: A collaborative project to compare N cycling in selected North American headwater streams and to test a number of key hypotheses about the influences of stream metabolism and hydrologic function on N cycling in streams. A key finding was that biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen was strongly linked to discharge rates and that nitrification was a surprisingly responsive component of the nitrogen cycle in these headwater streams. See

Impacts of differing riparian zone geomorphology on nitrogen fluxes from a tropical rain forest to headwater streams: An investigation of N flux through the riparian zones of two tropical streams with distinctly different riparian flow paths. The key finding was that the rate, mode, and location of N processing was highly dependent on the geomorphology or the riparian zone, which in turn controlled hydrological flow paths.

Impacts of whole-tree harvesting on N2O losses from a northern hardwood forest: Impacts of new forest harvesting method on losses of volatile forms of N from a forest ecosystem type that was known to be especially prone to soluble N loss (primarily as NO3) in response to disturbance. The project identified a key link between hydrological transport and volatilization of N2O to the atmosphere.

Nitrogen cycling in tidal freshwater wetland: Influence of a unique and poorly understood coastal wetland type on water quality (N level) in a river draining an urbanizing watershed. The investigation focussed of N turnover in wetland sediments, using 15N isotope dilution techniques. Major fluxes and stores of N in the wetland ecosystem were examined and quantified. Key interactions with the riverine system were identified.

Publications since 2005 (of 80 peer-reviewed)          (Top)

* Designates a graduate student or Post-doc as lead or co-author advised by Bowden

# Designates an undergraduate lead or co-author advised by Bowden

Publications currently in review


Allen*, A.R., B.J. Peterson, A. Huryn, and W.B. Bowden. 2009. Foodweb characteristics based on stable isotopic analyses of carbon and nitrogen from streams in the central and upper Noatak River basin: Gates of the Arctic Park and Preserve and the Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. [In revision]


Chichakly*, K., W.B. Bowden, M. Eppstein.  Simple hydrologic metrics for monitoring and modeling suspended sediment loads.  Journal of the American Water Resources Association [In revision]



Fitzgerald*, E., W.B. Bowden, and M. Kline. Linking Urbanization to Stream Geomorphology and Biotic Integrity in the Lake Champlain Basin, Vermont, USA. Journal of the American Water Resources Association [In revision].



Flinn, M.B., W.B. Bowden, B.J. Peterson, C. Luecke, A. Balser, A.R. Allen*, and J.R. Larouche*. 2009. The influence of lithology on physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of headwater streams in the Feniak Lake region, Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. [In review]



Larouche*, J., W.B. Bowden, and R. Giordano. 2009. Microbial biogeography of streams in the Feniak Lake region, Noatak National Preserve, Alaska: Exploring influences of lithology and habitat. [In revision]


Peer reviewed manuscripts in print or press


Bowden, W.B. 2010. Climate Change in the Arctic – Permafrost, Thermokarst, and Why They Matter to the Non-Arctic World. Geography Compass 4(10): 1553–1566. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2010.00390.x. Article first published online: 3 October 2010.


Hilary K. McMillan, H.K., M.P. Clark, W.B.Bowden, M.D. Duncan, and R.A. Woods. 2010. Hydrological field data from a modeller’s perspective: Part 1. Diagnostic tests for model structure. Hydrological Processes.  DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7841


Phillips C., W. Allen, A. Fenemor, B. Bowden and R. Young. 2010. Integrated catchment management research: lessons for interdisciplinary science from the Motueka Catchment, New Zealand. Marine and Freshwater Research 61(7): 749-763.


Brosten, T.R., J.H. Bradford, J.P. McNamara, M.N. Gooseff, J.P. Zarnetske, W.B. Bowden, and M.E. Johnston. 2009. Multi-offset GPR methods for hyporheic zone investigations

Near Surface Geophysics 7(4 - Special Issue): 247-257.   


Brosten, T.R., J.H. Bradford, J.P. McNamara, M.N. Gooseff, J.P. Zarnetske, W.B. Bowden, and M.E. Johnston. 2009. Estimating 3D variation in active-layer thickness beneath arctic streams using ground-penetrating radar. Journal of Hydrology 373(3-4): 479-486.


Gooseff, M.N, A. Balser, W.B. Bowden, and J.B. Jones. 2009. Effects of Hillslope Thermokarst in Northern Alaska. Eos 90(4): 29-36. (27 January 2009)



Zarnetske, J.P., M.N. Gooseff, W.B. Bowden, M.J. Greenwald, T.R. Brosten, J.H. Bradford, and J.P. McNamara.  2008. Influence of morphology and permafrost dynamics on hyporheic exchange in arctic headwater streams under warming climate conditions. Geophysical Research Letters 35:  L02501, doi:10.1029/2007GL032049.



Gooseff, M.N., R.A. Payn, J.P. Zarnetske, W.B. Bowden, J.P. McNamara, and J.H. Bradford. Comparison of flushing behavior of dead zones during instantaneous and constant-rate stream tracer additions – implications for design and interpretation of non-conservative tracer experiments.  Journal of Hydrology 357: 112– 124.



Bowden, W.B., M.J. Greenwald, M.N. Gooseff, J.P. Zarnetske, J.P. McNamara, J. Bradford, and T. Brosten.  2008. Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus interactions in the hyporheic zones of arctic streams that drain areas of continuous permafrost.  In: D.L. Kane and K.M. Hinkel (eds.), pp. 165-171, Proceedings, Ninth International Congress on Permafrost. Fairbanks, 29 June-3 July, 2008.



Cao, W., W.B. Bowden, T. Davie and A. Fenemor.  2008. Modelling impacts of land cover change on critical water resources in the Motueka River catchment, New Zealand. Water Resources Management.  DOI 10.1007/s11269-008-9268-2.  Published on-line first, print version in press.



Payn, R. A., M. N. Gooseff, D. A. Benson, O. A. Cirpka, J. P. Zarnetske, W. B. Bowden, J. P. McNamara, and J. H. Bradford. 2008. Comparison of instantaneous and constant-rate stream tracer experiments through non-parametric analysis of residence time distributions. Water Resour. Res.,  44,  W06404, doi:10.1029/2007WR006274



Greenwald, M. J.*, W. B. Bowden, M. N. Gooseff, J. P. Zarnetske, J. P. McNamara, J. H. Bradford, and T. R. Brosten.* 2008. Hyporheic exchange and water chemistry of two arctic tundra streams of contrasting geomorphology. J. Geophysical Research (Biogeosciences). doi:10.1029/2007JG000549.



Zarnetske, J.P.*, M.N. Gooseff, T.R. Brosten*, J.H. Bradford, J. P. McNamara, and W.B. Bowden.  2007.  Transient storage as a function of geomorphology, discharge, and permafrost active layer conditions in Arctic tundra streams.  Water Resour. Res., 43, doi:10.1029/2005 WR004816.



Benstead, J.P., A.C. Green, L.A. Deegan, B.J. Peterson, K. Slavik, W.B. Bowden, and A.E. Hershey.  2007.  Recovery of three arctic stream reaches from experimental nutrient enrichment.  Freshwater Biology 52:1077–1089.  doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2007.01723.x.



Mulder, K.* and W.B. Bowden.  2007.  Organismal stoichiometry and the adaptive advantage of variable nutrient use and production efficiency in Daphnia.  Ecological Modeling.  202: 427–440.  doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.11.007



Morse, N.#, W.B. Bowden, A. Hackman*, C. Pruden, E. Steiner#, and E. Berger.  2007. Using weighted average sound pressure to estimate reaeration in stream reaches.  Journal of the North American Benthological Society 26(1):28–37. 



Cole, A., W.A. Allen, M. Kilvington, A. Fenemor, and B. Bowden. 2007. Participatory modelling with an influence matrix and the calculation of whole-of-system sustainability values.  International Journal of Sustainable Development 10(4): 282-401.



Brosten*, T, JH Bradford, JP McNamara, JP Zarnetske, MN Gooseff, WB Bowden.  2006.  Temporal thaw depth beneath two arctic stream types using ground-penetrating radar. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes.  17: 341–355.  (DOI: 10.1002/ppp.566)



McIntosh, A.,  W.B. Bowden, E. Fitzgerald*, A. Hackman*, B. Kirk*, J. Todd, H. Vladich, A. Voinov.  2006. RAN: Working with neighborhoods to manage stormwater.  Stormwater, May/June, pp. 95-99.



Fitzgerald, E*. and W.B. Bowden.  2006.  Quantifying increases in stream power and energy using flow duration curves for Potash Brook, South Burlington, Vermont.  Stormwater, March/April, pp 88-94.