Ecological Assessment

Ecological Assessment

The mission of the Ecological Assessment Team is to develop and apply effective approaches for assessing, managing, and restoring ecosystems. There are six core research areas that are a focus of the team, identified below.

Biological Monitoring studies are a major focus of the team. The long-running Biological Monitoring and Abatement Program (BMAP) has used innovative tools to evaluate the ecology of stream and river systems downstream of DOE and DoD facilities across the country. The core program, which started in 1985 evaluating East Fork Poplar Creek in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is noted for its long-term evaluation of environmental change, multidisciplinary nature, use of innovative tools and strategies, and level of quantitation to address the complexity of stream impacts. An ecological focus to Remediation Research has been key to effectively managing and restoring remediation sites, and has included source identification studies using caged clams and fish, ecological management and restoration where ecological communities are managed to minimize bioaccumulation, and mercury-related research. The Ecological Assessment team also uses unique Natural Resource Assessment strategies for wildlife management, wetland management, and invasive species management, primarily in Oak Ridge, but also at various DoD bases. Environmental Sustainability at these DoD bases and various ranges is a key focus, and the EA Team has applied innovative tools and methods for endangered species assessment, risk assessment, and DoD-base decision support.

Most of the staff in the Ecological Assessment Team is found in the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory. In addition to laboratory studies that are conducted as an outgrowth of the above programs and projects, the large tanks, living streams, and mesocosms are used for various Fisheries Assessments and Large Scale Change Analyses. Controlled artificial stream studies in the laboratory were a key component of the long-running Walker Branch Watershed studies, and modeling complex biogeochemical interactions in forested streams. Fisheries-related studies conducted in the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory include studies to evaluate thermal effects on fish, simulations of noise impacts on fish from hydropower plants, and fish physiological responses to impingement.

Ecological Assessment Team Core Research Areas

Aquatic Ecology Laboratory

For more information, contact:
Mark Peterson (, 865-576-3461)