Dr. Matthew Waters

Matthew WatersEducation

B. S. Environmental Science, Mercer University

M. S. Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida

Ph.D. Environmental Science and Engineering, UNC-Chapel Hill

Postdoctoral Fellow Environmental Science, University of South Florida


BIOL 1010 Evolution and Diversity

BIOL 1030 Organismal Biology

BIOL 4000 Climate Change Biology

BIOL 4010 Stream Ecology

BIOL 4700 Limnology


My research is in the fields of aquatic ecology and paleolimnology (history of lake systems). Aquatic ecosystems are a limited and invaluable resource that can be altered by environmental and anthropogenic stressors. The primary focus of my research is to measure biogeochemical (organic matter, nutrients, metals, TC/TN) and ecological (cyanobacteria, algae, macrophytes) parameters in lakes to determine the governing processes that drive ecosystem states.  Typically, I analyze sediment cores to reconstruct lake histories, but I also work with modern limnological techniques.  Projects integrate intensive field research with complimentary laboratory experimentation, photosynthetic pigment analysis and organic matter analysis to examine how paleolimnological techniques can be used to infer ecosystem change as well as forecast future aquatic ecosystem states.

Current Projects:

1.  Historic primary producer changes in Lake Griffin, Florida.  We are measuring photosynthetic pigments, organic matter, nutrients and cyanotoxins in a 3m sediment core collected from Lake Griffin, FL, a eutrophic, shallow lake in central Florida.

2.  Paleolimnology of Georgia’s natural lakes.  We are measuring paleolimnological parameters (photosynthetic pigments, charcoal, nutrients, macrofossils, etc.) in sediment cores collected from the Lake Park, GA area (Georgia’s only area of natural lakes) in order to reconstruct the anthropogenic, environmental and climatic effects on the system throughout the last 10,000 years. Graduate Student:  Sean Early

3.  The impacts of fragmentation, land use, and invasive species on the ecology of Lake Seminole, GA.  We are investigating the transport of materials into Lake Seminole from the differing watersheds of the Flint (agricultural) and Chattahoochee (industrial) Rivers.  In addition, we are monitoring the cycling of those materials through the ecosystem, which includes the invasive speces, Hydrilla, Corbicula and Pumacea. Graduate Students: Josh Boston, Chase Patrick

4.  Historic primary producer communities in the Florida Everglades.  We are measuring photosynthetic pigments in several sediment cores from the Florida Everglades to determine nutrient (P) and climatic (hurricanes) impacts on the system’s primary producers throughout the last 200 years.

5.  Holocene biological change in northern Alabama as inferred from a 7000 year old bat guano core.  We are measuring nutrients, metals, charcoal, insect fragments and pollen in a 7000 year old guano core collected from Fern Cave Alabama in order to infer bat colony persistence, terrestrial flora presence and human interactions in and around the cave.

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Hardison, A.K., E. A. Canuel, I. C. Anderson, C. R. Tobias, B. Veuger and M. N. Waters.  Accepted.  Microphytobenthos and benthic macroalgae determine sediment organic matter composition in shallow photic sediments.  Biogeosciences

Waters, M. N., J. M. Smoak and C. J. Saunders.  2013.  Historic primary producer communities linked to water quality and hydrologic changes in the northern Everglades.  Journal of Paleolimnology 49: 67-81.

Waters, M. N., M. F. Piehler, J. M. Smoak and T. S. Bianchi.  2012.  Algal community responses to shallow lake dystrophication.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 69 (8): 1433-1443.

Rodriguez, A. B., M. N. Waters and M. F. Piehler.  2012.  Burning peat and reworking loess contribute to the formation and evolution of a large Carolina-bay basin.  Quaternary Research 77: 171-181.

Sanders, C. J., J. M Smoak, M. N. Waters, L. M. Sanders, N. Brandini and S. R. Patchineelam.  2012.  Organic matter content and particle size modifications in mangrove sediments as responses to sea level rise.  Marine Environmental Research 77: 150-155.

Gu, B, C. L. Schelske and M. N. Waters.  2011.  Patterns and controls of seasonal variability of carbon stable isotopes of particulate organic matter in Lakes.  Oecologia DOI 10.1007/s00442-010-1888-6.

Gu, B, C. L. Schelske and M. N. Waters. 2010.  Patterns and controls of carbon stable isotope composition of particulate organic matter in subtropical lakes.  Fundamental and Applied Limnology 178: 29-41.

Waters, M. N., M. F. Piehler, J. M. Smoak and C. S. Martens.  2010. The development and persistence of alternative ecosystem states in a large, shallow lake.  Freshwater Biology. 50: 1249-1261.

Campbell, J., M. N. Waters, A. Tarter and J. Jackson.  2010Heavy metal analysis of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in the Charleston, South Carolina region.  Journal of Wildlife Disease. 46: 1234-1241.

Sanders, C. J.,  J. M. Smoak, M. N. Waters, S. R. Patchineelam, L. M. Sanders and M. E. Ketterer.   2010.  Intertidal mangrove mudflat 240+239Pu signatures, confir ming a 210Pb geochronology on the southeastern coast of Brazil.  Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 283: 593-596.

Waters, M. N., M. F. Piehler, J. M. Smoak, A. B. Rodriguez and T. S. Bianchi.  2009.  Shallow lake trophic status linked to late Holocene climate and human impacts.  Journal of Paleolimnology  42: 51-64.

Waters, M. N., C. L. Schelske, W. F. Kenney and A. D. Chapman.  2005.  The use of sedimentary algal pigments to infer historic algal communities in Lake Apopka, Florida. Journal of Paleolimnology  33: 53-71.

Kenney, W. F., M. N. Waters, C. L. Schelske and M. Brenner.  2002.  Sediment records of phosphorus-driven shifts to phytoplankton dominance in shallow Florida lakes Journal of Paleolimnology  27: 367-377.

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