Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Afterward, he worked as a field technician in Iceland and Trinidad and Tobago, assisting with research projects studying stream biogeochemistry and evolutionary processes in the face of global change. Following these projects, he returned to Montana and helped the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks estimate pallid sturgeon populations and dietary patterns in the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers.
As a PhD student at Virginia Tech, Ryan is investigating the carbon dynamics in freshwater lake and reservoir ecosystems. He is particularly interested to know how changes in physics, nutrient cycling, and biology affect greenhouse gas emissions in waterbodies. The work uses whole ecosystem manipulations coupled with lake simulation computer modeling to develop a comprehensive understanding of greenhouse gas dynamics in waterbodies and determine their contribution to natural and anthropogenic emissions.
By joining IGC, Ryan hopes the program teaches him methods in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration to advance our understanding of freshwater ecosystems. As climate change and other anthropogenic perturbations escalate, freshwater ecology has become a research subject that requires interdisciplinary teams.