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Remote ecosystems vulnerable to pollution

The Grand Canyon reach of the Colorado River meanders through one of the most remote ecosystems in the United States. It would be easy to assume steep canyon walls and uninhabited shores resulted in pristine waters. But research by Cary Institute’s Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall and colleagues has found that this isolated part of the Colorado harbors toxic levels of mercury and selenium.

No sharks in fresh water adventures

Like many freshwater scientists, I suffer from Cousteau envy. To me, fresh waters are fascinating, but they get no respect from the public.

Mercury and selenium pollution in the Grand Canyon


The Grand Canyon Reach of the Colorado River is breathtaking and remote. For hundreds of miles, the rugged landscape renders the river virtually inaccessible to people. Those intrepid enough to explore the area are treated to red rocks, blue skies, and meandering waters.

GLEON: Ten years of linking lakes and people

In October 2005, five scientists were marooned on a mountain near Yuan Yang Lake in Taiwan. Dead-set on installing a new batch of water quality sensors, the group had ignored an incoming typhoon that washed out the only road behind them, knocking chunks of pavement the size of a garage down the cypress-covered slopes.

Related Projects

Road Salt

Increasing salt in our streams has been a concern at the Cary Institute for many years. Even in the relatively undeveloped watershed of the East Branch of Wappinger Creek, the salt levels have increased since 1985 when sampling began. 

gleon australia

Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network

Dr. Weathers is co-Chair of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), a grassroots research network that conducts innovative science by sharing and interpreting high resolution sensor data to understand, predict and communicate the role and response of lakes in a changing global environment.

Increased Loss of DOC from Terrestrial Systems

Carbon released from terrestrial ecosystems is an important source of organic matter in most streams, lakes and rivers. In the Hudson River there has been a doubling in concentration of dissolved organic carbon over the past 15 years.

Hudson River Habitats: Wetlands

There are roughly 200 tidal freshwater wetlands fringing the Hudson from the Tappan Zee region to the Federal Dam in Troy.

Effects of Novel Contaminants, Such as Pharmaceuticals, on Stream Ecosystems

The widespread use of novel contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals, have unknown consequences for stream ecosystems.

Crop Selection Consequences for Stream Ecosystem Function

Research examining the cycling of novel allochthonous carbon, i.e. agricultural crop by-products, in Midwestern agricultural streams.

Effects of Global Climate Change on Stream Ecosystems

Our understanding of the effects of Global Climate Change on stream ecosystems is limited.

Nutrient Cycling in Large River Ecosystems

Our understanding of nutrient cycling in large river ecosystems is currently limited.

Modification of Rivers for Hydropower Generation

Globally, direct modification of rivers for hydropower generation is one of the most dramatic effects humans have had on large river ecosystems.

zebra mussel

Zebra Mussels and the Hudson River

Zebra mussels appeared in the Hudson in 1991 and fundamentally transformed the ecosystem. The zebra mussel invasion is linked to losses of native mussels and changes in the fish community.

Pearly Mussel Ecology

What controls the distribution and abundance of pearly mussels, a species-rich and highly endangered group of animals in eastern North America? 

Hudson River Habitats: Submersed Aquatic Vegetation

Submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) is an important habitat in the Hudson River. We have investigated a wide range of functions in SAV beds including maintenance of high dissolved oxygen, effects on suspended sediment, and habitat value.

water celery

Ecological Functions of Submersed Plant Beds

Beds of water celery (Vallisneria americana) and other plants are widespread in the Hudson River, and play several important ecological functions. These beds contain a diverse invertebrate community, which may serve as a major source of food to the river's fish.

Stream Bacterial Communities: When is Function Linked to Structure?

We have carried out a diversity of small and mesocosm-scale experiments, in conjunction with regionally distributed field sampling, to assess when the composition of stream benthic bacterial communities corresponds with differences in stream metabolic activities.

Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System

HRECOS provides continuous, real-time data on environmental conditions in the Hudson River. There are fifteen monitoring stations at eight sites, spanning from Albany to the New York Harbor

Hudson River Ecosystem Study

For three decades, our scientists have been researching the Hudson River ecosystem– from the way shoreline development impacts water quality to how invasive species influence resident plants and animals. As a result, the Hudson is the most scientifically scrutinized river in the world.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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