Ryan received his bachelors degree in Ecology and Evolutionary biology from Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman, Montana. He completed his tenure at MSU researching growth rates and nutrient stoichiometry of snails across temperature gradients in Iceland. Ryan went on to work as a field technician in Trinidad and assisted with research of stream processes and a long-term mark-recapture study of guppies to track their evolution. He also performed an independent research project investigating Trinidadian freshwater crab (E. garmani) biomass and secondary production in streams with and without guppies. After 6 months in Trinidad, Ryan returned to Montana and helped Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks estimate pallid sturgeon populations and diet in the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers.
Currently, Ryan started his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech under the direction of Dr. Cayelan Carey and is investigating reservoir ecosystem dynamics in response to large perturbations that are concurrent with climate change.
He is particularly interested to know how changes in lake physics and nutrient cycling affect greenhouse gas emissions in waterbodies. Using whole ecosystem manipulations coupled with computer models like GLM-AED (General Lake Model – Aquatic Eco Dynamics), he intends to develop a comprehensive understanding of greenhouse gas dynamics in reservoirs and determine their contribution to global emissions.
By joining IGC, Ryan hopes the program teaches him methods in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration to advance our understanding of freshwater ecosystems holistically. As climate change and other anthropogenic perturbations escalate, freshwater will become a resource that requires broad collaborative investigation as its ecosystem services change substantially.