Viable Sustainability:
The Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory

UVM’s research strategy to pursue healthy societies and a healthy environment are inspiring hundreds of projects across the centers and academic units of the University, creating new knowledge and innovations while leveraging our existing institutional research strengths. One of our greatest strengths is the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory.

At the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, faculty members and students collaborate to transcend organizational silos, converging across disciplinary boundaries to achieve rapid success on specific, targeted challenges. Located on the shore of Lake Champlain, the lab houses state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities for the study of aquatic ecology and watershed sciences. The lab addresses complex aquatic issues locally, nationally, and globally, and informs a dynamic network of scientists, educators, policy makers, and stakeholder communities.

Using a suite of observational, experimental, and modeling approaches, these UVM researchers are actively improving our understanding of ecological processes for both basic and applied scientific questions. These results are then scalable and translatable to coastal-abutting communities across the nation and the world, providing an opportunity to make distinct real-world impact from our local expertise.

Lake Champlain offers dynamic and unparalleled opportunities to conduct research on and educate the public about the pressing aquatic issues facing the world today.

Laboratory Video Spotlight

Diving Deeper with the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory

Research Vessels on Lake Champlain

The research vessel Melosira is staffed with a full-time Captain and Research Vessel Specialist experienced in all aspects of limnological, geological, and fisheries sampling including water sampling, plankton sampling, sediment coring, deploying and maintaining in situ sensors, gill netting, bottom and mid-water fish trawling, and hydroacoustic sampling.

After serving 34 years as Lake Champlain’s premiere lake research and education platform, the Melosira will be replaced by a new and cutting-edge hybrid catamaran in June 2022. This breakthrough step is only possible through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and Senator Patrick Leahy’s unwavering support for Lake Champlain, and visionary donors providing the resources for operational support in perpetuity.

Contributions to Research at the Lab

The Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory’s faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students conduct research in disciplines ranging from nutrient pollution to top predator ecology, in ecosystems from Lake Champlain to China ranging in size from small ponds to the largest lake in the world.

The lab is home to working scientists at all career stages engaged in a wide scope of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research activity. Thirty-three undergraduate students, sixteen graduate students, five post-docs and fourteen faculty and full-time staff worked at the laboratory in 2021, and personnel were involved in $12.75 million worth of grant-funded research and education programs. This past year, the lab published four book chapters and twenty-nine peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals. Additionally, the lab has a very active presence in the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (or GLEON), which is a worldwide collaborative network of scientists conducting cutting-edge research. The lab’s faculty and students serve in leadership roles throughout the organization.

Highlights of UVM’s Scalable Work in Sustainable Enterprise

The Research Vessel Melosira and Other Boats

Undergraduate Opportunities at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Lab

Faculty and Graduate Research

Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Lab Courses

Outreach and Partners of the Ecosystem Science Laboratory