Small lab: Research in Ecosystem Ecology

August 23, 2017 / By: Gaston E. "Chip" Small, PH.D.

 Professional Interests | Publications| Student Research

   Professional Interests

  • Application of ecosystem ecology to sustainability science
  • Human alteration of biogeochemical cycles
  • Fate of anthropogenic nutrients in aquatic ecosystems
  • Communicating science to the public

Dr. Small preparing sediment from the bottom of Lake Superior for an incubation experiment on-board the Research Vessel Blue Heron during an 18-day research cruise in 2011.  His current research focuses on how nutrients from the Duluth area are processed within the St. Louis River Estuary before entering Lake Superior.

 Personal website:


  • Halvorson HM, Small GE (2016) Observational field studies are not appropriate tests of consumer stoichiometric homeostasis. Freshwater Science 35: 1103-1116.
  • Small GE, Sisombath B*, Reuss L*, Henry R, Kay AD (in press) Assessing how the ratio of food waste to wood chips in compost affects rates of microbial processing and subsequent vegetable yield. Compost Management and Utilization. 
  • MJ Vanni, PB McIntyre, D Allen, DL Arnott, JP Benstead, DJ Berg, Å Brabrand, S Brosse, PA Bukaveckas, A Caliman, KA Capps, LS Carneiro, NE Chadwick, AD Christian, A Clarke, JD Conroy, WF Cross, DA Culver, CM Dalton, JA Devine, LM Domine, MA Evans-White, B Faafeng, AS Flecker, KB Gido, C Godinot, RD Guariento, S Haertel-Borer, RO Hall, R Henry, BR Herwig, BJ Hicks, KA Higgins, JM Hood, ME Hopton, T Ikeda, WF James, HM Jansen, CR Johnson, BJ Koch, GA Lamberti, S Lessard-Pilon, JC Maerz, ME Mather, RA McManamay, JR Milanovich, DKJ Morgan, JM Moslemi, R Naddafi, J Petter Nilssen, M Pagano, A Pilati, DM Post, M Roopin, AT Rugenski, MH Schaus, J Shostell, GE Small, CT Solomon, SC Sterrett, Ø Strand, M Tarvainen, JM Taylor, LE Torres-Gerald, CB Turner, J Urabe, SI Uye, AM Ventelä, S Villéger, MR Whiles, FM Wilhelm, HF Wilson, MA Xenopoulos, KD Zimmer. 2017. A global database of nitrogen and phosphorus excretion rates of aquatic animals. Ecology 98(5): 1475.
  • G.E. Small, J.C. Finlay, R.M.L. McKay, M.J. Rozmarynowycz, S. Brovold, G.S. Bullerjahn, K. Spokas, and R.W. Sterner. 2016. Large differences in potential denitrification and sediment microbial communities across the Laurentian great lakes. Biogeochemistry. DOI 10.1007/s10533-016-0212-x.
  • Loken, L.C., G.E. Small, J. C. Finlay, R. W. Sterner, E.H. Stanley. 2016. Nitrogen cycling in a freshwater estuary. Biogeochemistry 127: 199-216.
  • Small, G.E., M. Ardón, J.H. Duff, A.P. Jackman, C.M. Pringle, A. Ramírez, F.J. Triska. 2016. Phosphorus retention in a lowland neotropical stream following an eight-year phosphorus enrichment experiment. Freshwater Science 35: 1-11.
  • Small G.E., Bullerjahn G. S., Sterner R.W., Beall B.F.N., Brovold S., Finlay J.C., McKay R.M.L., Mukherjee M. (2013) Rates and controls of nitrification in a large oligotrophic lake. Limnology & Oceanography 58: 276–286.
  • Riskin, S. H., Small, G. E., et al.  To be published by Oxford University Press in 2013.  Phosphorus in urban and agricultural landscapes.  In K. A. Wyant, J. R. Corman, and J. J. Elser.  Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future.  Oxford University Press, New York City, New York, USA.
  • Small, G. E., Ardon, M., Jackman, A. P., Duff, J. H., Triska, F. J., Ramirez, A., Snyder, M., and Pringle, C. M.  2012.  Rainfall-driven amplification of seasonal acidification in poorly buffered tropical streams.  Ecosystems 15: 974-985.
  • Small, G. E.  2012.  The postdoc dilemma.  Nature 483: 235-235.
  • Small, G. E.  2011.  Time to Tweet.  Nature 479: 141-141.
  • Sterner, R. W., Small, G. E., and Hood, J.  2011.  The conservation of mass.  Nature Education Knowledge 2: 11.
  • Small, G. E., Bixby, R., Kazanci, C. and Pringle. C. M.  2011.  Partitioning stoichiometric components of epilithic biofilm using mixing models.  Limnology & Oceanography: Methods 9: 185-193.
  • Davis, J., Rosemond, A. D., and Small, G. E.  2011.  Increasing donor ecosystem productivity decreases terrestrial consumer reliance on a stream resource subsidy.  Oecologia DOI: 10.1007/s00442-011-2026-9.
  • Small, G. E., Pyron, M., Duff, J. H., and Pringle, C. M.  2011.  Emergent role of the fish, Astyanax aeneus (Characidae), as a Keystone Nutrient Recycler in low-nutrient Neotropical streams, Costa Rica.  Ecology 92: 386-397.
  • Small, G. E., Wares, J. P., and Pringle, C. M. 2011.  Phosphorus limitation by a fast-growing detritivore across natural- and experimental P-gradients: evidence for adaptation to local conditions.  Limnology & Oceanography 56: 268-278.
  • Small, G. E. and Pringle, C. M.  2010.  Deviation from strict homeostasis across multiple trophic levels in an invertebrate consumer assemblage exposed to high chronic phosphorus enrichment in a Neotropical stream. Oecologia 162: 581-590.
  • Small, G. E., Helton, A. M., and Kazanci, C.  2009.  Can consumer stoichiometric regulation control nutrient spiraling in streams?  Journal of the North American Benthological Society 28: 747-764. 
  • Small, G. E., Pringle, C. M., Triska, F. J., Duff, J. H., Jackman, A. P., Hidalgo, M., Ramírez, A., and Ardón, M.  2008.  The dynamics of phosphorus retention during an eight-year P-addition in a Neotropical headwater stream.  Verhandlungen Internationale Vereinigung für theoretische und angewandte Limnologie 30:551-554.  

Student Research

More coming soon!

Dr. Small and an undergraduate researcher collect fish during a study of how stream organisms affect nutrient cycling.