Our faculty research everything from aquaculture to emerging contaminants to ecosystem health. 

Our research teams include scientists, economists and legal experts who are advancing fundamental and strategic science and training the next generation of freshwater professionals to inform policy, improve management, and promote the health and sustainability of freshwater systems worldwide. They are internationally known for their work in areas such as freshwater contaminants, biological pollutants, fisheries, invasive species, aquaculture, observation technology, weather prediction and water policy.

Investment in our research includes funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state of Wisconsin and local government, as well as corporate partners, foundations and private donors.

Our researchers and students collaborate with on-site partners, and our building houses offices for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Sea Grant, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Southeast Wisconsin Watershed Trust, Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin and Milwaukee’s Harbor District.

9On-site governmental and nonprofit collaborators

We’re committed to advancing key research priorities

Explore freshwater systems and develop methods for their preservation and management. Study the impacts of climate change, human activity, and invasive species on the Great Lakes and freshwater ecosystems worldwide. Improve water safety through cutting-edge research. Track the presence and sources of pathogens and determine the impacts of contaminants on human and ecosystem health. Form collaborations among scientists, engineers, and industry to develop cutting-edge sensor, genomic, robotic and aquaculture technologies.

Manage, replace and restore the Great Lakes’ commercial and recreational fisheries. Uncover new techniques in fisheries management and develop innovative food technologies to spawn a new urban aquaculture industry. Link science to action and develop transformational policies on topics including transboundary water issues, dispute resolution and adaptive environmental management. Drive new technologies in water research and management. Generate strong policy from great science.

Water Research Impact

  • Environmental Monitor Highlights Bootsma’s Work in Lake Malawi
    Lake Malawi in Africa is critical for food and transportation and also has the most diverse fish populations in the world. The Environmental Monitor highlighted Professor Harvey Bootsma's ongoing research in Malawi, Climate change is warming Lake Malawi and causing environmental stressors. Bootsma states in the article that one step to identifying and alleviating these … Read more
  • What Happens to the Buoys in Winter?
    The School of Freshwater Sciences launches and maintains a number of buoys in Lake Michigan, which provide information for research and recreation from late spring through fall. What happens to the buoys during the winter? According to Jessie Grow, freshwater sciences research specialist and marine technician and UW-Milwaukee alumna, winter duties depend on what catastrophic … Read more
  • UWM research seeks to find how small microplastics become in waterways
    The National Science Foundation recently awarded Professor Laodong Guo $360,800 to investigate how microplastics behave in water and the chemical properties of their smallest particles during weathering. Read the story in the UWM Report