VCU Rice Center

Photo of James River

Nutrient and plankton dynamics in the James River

Dr. Paul Bukaveckas, associate professor in VCU’s Department of Biology and Center for Environmental Studies, and his graduate students are conducting research focused on understanding nutrient and plankton dynamics in the James River. He is interested in determining why this section of the river is particularly conducive to algal blooms, the fate of this algal production and how these food resources are ultimately linked to the production of fish and other components of the food web. His lab is coupling these data with innovative ecosystem modeling to provide river and watershed management strategies. 

Former Gov. Tim Kaine visits with Dr. Bukaveckas

Former Gov. Tim Kaine visits with Dr. Bukaveckas and the members of the River Ecology class as they collect samples on the James River.

Dr. Bukaveckas and his graduate students participate in research cruises hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Dr. Bukaveckas and his graduate students participate in research cruises hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Data are collected along the length of the James River to characterize longitudinal variation in water quality.

Stream restoration

Dr. Bukaveckas and his graduate students also have been monitoring changes in the geomorphology and chemistry of Kimages Creek as this stream is restored to its natural hydrology with the removal of the dam that had impounded the stream since the 1920s. His lab is studying changes in channel geomorphology and water chemistry, including aspects of nutrient retention within the system. These data are used to assess changes in the structure and functioning of the newly developing stream and wetland habitats.

Maureen Dougherty, a recent graduate of the Environmental Studies master’s program, measures channel morphometry in the restored segment of Kimages Creek.

Maureen Dougherty, a recent graduate of the Environmental Studies master’s program, measures channel morphometry in the restored segment of Kimages Creek.

Learn more about Bukaveckas’ river and stream restoration studies.