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. He teaches undergraduate courses in the Environmental Sciences curriculum and graduate courses in the Aquatic of Ecology and Watershed sciences curriculum at the University of Vermont. He is the Director of the Vermont Water Resources in Lake Studies Center and leads the Vermont component of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative. In addition he is the Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

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 in 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 as the lead Project Manager and Team Leader.

His current research projects focus on the effects of exurban development on stormwater runoff in Vermont and on climate change impacts in the arctic. Dr. Bowden is active in national and international programs to that seek to integrate science in resource management decision making, including the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, Hydrology for Environment Life and Policy (HELP), the National Environmental Observatory Network (NEON), and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH). 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.


  • Parker, S.P., W.B. Bowden, M.B. Flinn, C.D. Giles, K.A. Arndt, J.P. Beneš, and D.G. Jent. 2018. Effect of particle size and heterogeneity on sediment biofilm metabolism and nutrient uptake scaled using two approaches.  [Accepted and in production in Ecosphere.]
  • Song, C., W. K. Dodds, J. Rüegg, A. Argerich, C. L. Baker, W. B. Bowden, M. M. Douglas, K. J. Farrell, M. B. Flinn, E. A. Garcia, A. M. Helton, T. K. Harms, S. Jia, J. B. Jones, L. E. Koenig, J. S. Kominoski, W. H. McDowell, D. McMaster, S. P. Parker, A. D. Rosemond, C. M. Ruffing, K. R. Sheehan, M. T. Trentman, M. R. Whiles, W. M. Wollheim, and F. Ballantyne. 2018. Continental-scale decrease in net primary productivity in streams due to climate warming. Nature Geoscience 11:415-420. DOI: 10.1038/s41561-018-0125-5
  • Bowden, W.B., J. Glime, and T. Riis. 2017. Bryophytes and Macrophytes.  Chapter 18 in R. Hauer and G. Lamberti.  Methods in Stream Ecology. 3rd Edition.  Academic Press.  Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.  [This is an thorough update and revision of entry 67.]
  • Norman, B. C., Whiles, M. R., Collins, S. M., Flecker, A. S., Hamilton, S. K., Johnson, S. L., Rosi-Marshall, E. J., Ashkenas, L. R., Bowden, W. B., Crenshaw, C. L., Crowl, T., Dodds, W. K., Hall, R. O., El-Sabaawi, R., Griffiths, N. A., Marti, E., McDowell, W. H., Peterson, S. D., Rantala, H. M., Riis, T., Simon, K. S., Tank, J. L., Thomas, S. A., von Schiller, D. and Webster, J. R. 2017. Drivers of nitrogen transfer in stream food webs across continents. 2017. Ecology 98(12): 3044–3055. DOI:10.1002/ecy.2009
  • Vaughan, M.C.H., W.B. Bowden, J.B. Shanley, A. Vermilyea, R. Sleeper, A.J. Gold, S. Pradhanang, S.P. Inamdar, D.F. Levia, A.S. Andres, F. Birgand, A.W. Schroth. 2017. High-frequency dissolved organic carbon and nitrate measurements reveal differences in storm hysteresis and loading in relation to land cover and seasonality.  Water Resources Research 53, 5345–5363. DOI: 10.1002/2017WR020491
  • Bowden, W.B. 2016. Background Facts: Role of Phosphorus in Lake Champlain Pollution. Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 17: 501-515.
  • Abbott, B.W., J.B. Jones, E.A.G. Schuur, F.S. Chapin III, W.B. Bowden, M.S. Bret-Harte, H.E. Epstein, M.D. Flannigan, T.K. Harms, T.N. Hollingsworth, M. Mack, A.D. McGuire, S.M. Natali, A.V. Rocha, S.E. Tank, M.R. Turetsky, J.E. Vonk, K.P. Wickland, and the Permafrost Carbon Network. 2016. Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment.  DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014
  • Gough, L. N.D. Bettez, K.A. Slavik, W.B. Bowden, A.E. Giblin, G.W. Kling, J.A. Laundre, and G.R. Shaver. Effects of long-term nutrient additions on arctic tundra, stream, and lake ecosystems: Beyond NPP.  2016. Oecologia.  DOI: 10.1007/s00442-016-3716-0
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:

303D Aiken Center