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 and Milwaukee’s Harbor District.

8On-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

  • Rebecca Klaper in lab
    Nature Nanomaterials Publishes Study from Klaper Lab
    The laboratory of Rebecca Klaper just had a study published in the journal Nature Nanomaterials! Read the paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41565-022-01096-2 Engineered nanomaterials — particles that are 100 nm in one dimension and are made of various chemicals — are being incorporated into everything from cosmetics, medicine and food to car batteries. Studies have demonstrated up to a 100-fold … Read more
  • Brennan Dow standing in harbor
    Mapping a Wild, Underwater World
    As a graduate student he mapped Milwaukee Harbor’s underwater habitat. Now he’s using the knowledge and skills he gained at the School of Freshwater Sciences to devise a plan that will clean up the city’s waterways. Dotted with industry, Milwaukee’s concrete shoreline appears more hospitable to commercial vessels, pleasure boats and patio dining than to … Read more
  • Osvaldo Jhonatan Sepulveda Villet
    Perched on an Aquaculture Breakthrough
    They are helping revive the numbers of sturgeon and perch, both of which were once plentiful in the Great Lakes. In a laboratory tank, 8,000 larval fish circle in schools, 18 days old and barely larger than an exclamation point. In another tank, a few thousand fish of the same species, yellow perch, are all … Read more