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N. LeRoy Poff, PhD.


Professor Biology

Contact Info

Phone: (970) 491-2079   Office: Room E332 A/Z Bldg.

Email:   Lab: (970) 491-2414


Areas of Interest

 Environmental flows and river sustainabilityHydrologic influences on stream ecosystem Stream and river responses to climate changeStream biodiversity conservation


Dr. Poff is a stream and river ecologist who studies the role of natural environmental variability (especially in flow regime) and its modification by humans on ecosystem structure and function. He received his MS in Environmental Sciences from Indiana University and his PhD from Colorado State in 1989. After post-doctoral work at the University of Maryland and a stint as Senior Scientist for Trout Unlimited in Arlington, VA, he returned to CSU in 1997. Dr. Poff's research is typically interdisciplinary, as he works regularly with hydrologists, fluvial geomorphologists, and engineers on questions of river resilience in a world of global change. He has published extensively on the ecological consequences of hydrologic alteration and on the expected impacts of climate change on aquatic systems. His research has been funded by NSF, EPA, USGS, USFS, and the State of Colorado. He has served on several scientific advisory boards to projects at the interface of ecology and hydrology, including the King County (Seattle, WA) Normative Flows Project, the Potomac River Flow-by Study (Washington, DC), The Adaptive Forum for CALFED (California), and the National Research Council reviewing science at the US Geological Survey. He collaborates with and advises several NGOs, including The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, Trout Unlimited and Conservation International. He is a recent past president of an international scientific society of river ecologists and currently the Interim Director of CSU's Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, the largest interdisciplinary graduate program on campus. His international work has been realized through invited plenary/keynote presentations at international meetings (Spain, Korea, Australia, England). He is a recognized global leader in the field of hydro-ecology and incorporation of this science into a framework for establishing "environmental flow" guidelines to sustain rivers in the face of growing human demand for fresh water. He is an ISI Highly Cited Researcher, a Fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, and an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.