Watershed and Systems Ecology

stream and surrounding landscape in Pennsylvania

The objectives of the Patrick Center’s Watershed and Systems Ecology Section are to understand, conserve and restore aquatic ecosystems using a “systems” perspective. The center has considerable expertise to do this, which includes field and laboratory studies that focus on analyzing and simulating the structure and function of stream, riverine, and lacustrine ecosystems at multiple spatial scales. Our section develops and applies spatial models that will be useful tools for watershed managers.

Staff | Capabilities | Facilities | Selected Projects | Teaching


Dr. Jerry V. Mead, Section Leader
215-405-5091, mead@ansp.org


  • Stream channel and hydrologic surveys;
  • Spatial simulation of stream hydraulics;
  • Spatial analyses and mapping using geo- and spatial autoregressive- statistics;
  • Aquatic invertebrate, fish, and periphyton respirometry, and bioenergetic modeling;
  • Simulation of the dynamics, disruption, and development of aquatic ecosystems;
  • Multi-scale (micro-, reach-, and watershed- scale) analyses of stream networks;
  • Biophysical and ecological economic analyses of ecosystem services.


The Watershed and Systems Ecology Section builds upon The Academy’s diverse set of skills in systematics, ecology, and education. It also has access to a variety of sampling gear, vehicles, laboratory equipment, and other facilities to complete large, multidisciplinary studies.

Section Facilities

  • Geographic modeling laboratory with programming, GIS, and statistical software;
  • Survey gear including Total station, GPS base station, and water velocity meters;
  • ARGGIS 9.3 and related spatial analysis software;
  • Database of streams in the Delaware Basin at the riparian- and watershed- scale;
  • Respirometry laboratory for the development of bioenergetic models.

Patrick Center and Academy Facilities

  • Vehicles such as motor boats and trucks;
  • Field sampling equipment for fish, macroinvertebrates, plankton, and epiphyton;
  • Fisheries laboratory (fish identification, aging using scales or otoliths);
  • Library and collections of biota;
  • Sediment and water chemistry laboratories;
  • Variety of microscopes and dissecting scopes.

Selected Projects:

  • Water level management and Northern Pike reproduction in the St. Lawrence River;
  • Mapping toxicity of benthic sediments to aquatic invertebrates in Onondaga lake, NY;
  • Riparian zones and the energetics of stream ecosystems in the Delaware River Basin;
  • High-resolution spatial models of energy flow through stream foodwebs;
  • Climate-change affects on fish growth potential in the Delaware River Basin;
  • Energy, peak oil, and fish conservation.