Ben Colman, Assistant Professor


Ben is broadly interested in how nutrients and energy are cycled in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. He combines elements of ecosystem ecology, microbial ecology, and biogeochemistry in his work.


Lauren Sullivan, Graduate Student


Lauren has a B.Sc. in Resource Conservation and six years of applied restoration experience in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, which led to her present research interests. Currently, she is researching the fate and transport of nutrients, metals, and metalloids in aquatic systems using mesocosm experiments. Her research interests weave together biogeochemical cycles, water policy, and potential management strategies for reducing contaminant loads in surface water.

Scott Robinson, Graduate Student

Scott received his BSc. and MSc. in Forestry and Forest Ecology and Management from Michigan Technological University where he studied the impacts of forest management on soil productivity. He is broadly interested in the linkages between plant and soil processes, and how these relationships are altered by disturbances in terrestrial ecosystems. Currently, he is studying the impacts of trace element mobility on plant and microbial community dynamics, nutrients, and soil development in mine waste affected soil in southwest MT.

Kate Perkins, Graduate Student


Kate has a BSc. in Biology with Honors, and minors in Environmental Science and Mathematics, and a certificate in Quantitative Biology from Washington State University Vancouver, where she focused on phytoplankton dynamics in a heavily managed reservoir. She has worked as a natural resource specialist assistant and tall ship naturalist. Kate joined Dr. Ben Colman in the Systems Ecology program at the University of Montana to investigate the relationship between nutrient and metal nanoparticle cycling in areas impacted by agriculture and mining practices in the Clark Fork River basin. Her future goals include influencing how we manage agricultural operations under the Clean Water Act to improve water quality locally, and globally through watershed science and policy.

Current and former mentors

Emily Bernhardt Duke University; Department of Biology
Josh Schimel Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology; University of California, Santa Barbara
Knute Nadelhoffer University of Michigan, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Karl Turekian Yale University; Department of Geology and Geophysics
Dave Kieber State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Chemistry Department