Professor & Patrick Chair of Watershed Science & Planning; Director of Water Resources and Lake Studies Center, Lake Champlain Sea Grant; Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Research

Dr. Bowden is the Robert and Genevieve Patrick Professor in Watershed Science and Planning in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont and currently serves as the Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research. He is the Director of the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center and the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program and leads the Vermont component of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative.

Dr. Bowden’s research interests focus on the interactions among land use, land cover, and water resources. He has conducted research on wetland, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems in temperate, tropical, and Arctic biomes and has been involved with strategic planning in universities and government agencies. He founded the Water Resources Management undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of New Hampshire and helped to establish the Natural Resources MS and PhD programs there. He established the national Integrated Catchment Management Program at Landcare Research in New Zealand and was the lead Project Manager and Team Leader. Since 1986, Bowden has been a member of the core research team for the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research Program based at the Toolik Field Station on the north slope of Alaska and currently coordinates the stream ecological research component of this large, long-term, collaborative research program.

His current research focuses on the effects of stream network structure on biogeochemical processing in stream ecosystems and on the use of next-generation, high-frequency sensors to explore whole watershed dynamics. Dr. Bowden is active in national and international programs that seek to integrate science in resource management decision making, including the NSF Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER), the National Environmental Observatory Network (NEON), the National Institute for Water Resources (NIWR), the Sea Grant Association (SGA), and the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP). Dr. Bowden received his B.S. with majors in Zoology and Chemistry from the University of Georgia (1973) and his M.Sc. (1974) and Ph.D. (1982) from North Carolina State University.


Selected Recent Publications

  • Abbott, B. W., A. V. Rocha, A. Shogren, J. P. Zarnetske, F. Iannucci, W. B. Bowden, S. P. Bratsman, L. Patch, R. Watts, R. Fulweber, R. J. Frei, A. M. Huebner, S. M. Ludwig, G. T. Carling, and J. A. O'Donnell. 2021. Tundra wildfire triggers sustained lateral nutrient loss in Alaskan Arctic. Global Change Biology 27:1408-1430. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15507
  • Covino, T.P., A.N. Wlostowski, M.N. Gooseff, W.M. Wollheim, and W.B. Bowden. 2021. The seasonality of in-stream nutrient concentrations and uptake in Arctic headwater streams in the northern foothills of Alaska's Brooks Range. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences [Accepted Paper #2020JG005949RR]
  • Iannucci, F. M., J. Beneš, A. Medvedeff, and W. B. Bowden. 2021. Biogeochemical responses over 37 years to manipulation of phosphorus concentrations in an Arctic river: The Upper Kuparuk River Experiment. Hydrological Processes 35:e14075. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.14075
  • Shogren, A. J., J. P. Zarnetske, B. W. Abbott, F. Iannucci, A. Medvedeff, S. Cairns, M. J. Duda, and W. B. Bowden. 2021. Arctic concentration-discharge relationships for dissolved organic carbon and nitrate vary with landscape and season. Limnology and Oceanography 66:S197-S215. DOI: 10.1002/lno.11682
  • Kincaid, D. W., E. C. Seybold, E. C. Adair, W. B. Bowden, J. N. Perdrial, M. C. H. Vaughan, and A. W. Schroth. 2020. Land Use and Season Influence Event-Scale Nitrate and Soluble Reactive Phosphorus Exports and Export Stoichiometry from Headwater Catchments. Water Resources Research 56(10): e2020WR027361. DOI: 10.1029/2020WR027361
  • Wagner, C. R. H., S. Greenhalgh, M. T. Niles, A. Zia, and W. B. Bowden. 2020. Evaluating water quality regulation as a driver of farmer behavior: a social-ecological systems approach. Ecology and Society 25. DOI: 10.5751/ES-12034-250435
  • Vaughan, M. C. H., W. B. Bowden, J. B. Shanley, A. Vermilyea, and A. W. Schroth. 2019. Shining light on the storm: in-stream optics reveal hysteresis of dissolved organic matter character. Biogeochemistry 143:275-291. DOI: 10.1007/s10533-019-00561-w
Dr. William (Breck) Bowden

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Instructional program: Environmental Sciences
Research: Watershed science & management, arctic system science


  • Ph.D. 1982 North Carolina State University, Bioogeochemistry of nitrogen in coastal ecosystems
  • M.S. 1976 North Carolina State University, Microbial numbers and biomass in aquatic ecosystems
  • B.S. 1973 University of Georgia, Zoology and Chemistry


  • 802-656-2513
Office Location:

220L Aiken Center