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About Michelle A. Baker

Overall Goals and Emphasis. A goal of my research is to understand how water movement within the landscape influences ecosystem structure and function. I use an interdisciplinary approach, involving tools from ecology, hydrology, and geochemistry to ask questions about how hydrologic linkages within watersheds influence energy and nutrient cycling. Current Research includes
(1)Stream-Lake Interactions in Mountain Watersheds-This collaborative project seeks to understand how streams and lakes interact in glaciated landscapes and how nitrogen cycling is affected by this interaction at different scales. The project involves modeling, experimental nitrogen isotope additions and comparative studies of 25 lakes and 50 stream reaches.
(2) Hyporheic Nitrogen Cycling - This is a collaborative project aimed at understanding the role of the hyporheic zone in nitrate retention. My experiments are being coordinated with the Lotic Intersite Nitrogen Experiment II projects in Oregon and Wyoming. (3) Tools for nutrient criteria in Utah streams - My team and I are applying traditional tools in stream ecosystem ecology to assist watershed managers in developing scientifically defensible nutrient criteria for streams in Utah. And (4) Soil water and carbon dynamics - This is a collaborative project studying the potential impacts of climate change in the intermountain west on soil carbon storage and processing.


Present Adjunct Professor, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University Quinney College of Natural Resources, Watershed Sciences

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • College of Science Researcher of the Year, 2014
  • USU Mortar Board Top Professor, 2005
  • Hynes Award for New Investigators, 2001
  • NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1998


  • Biology and the Citizen
  • General Ecology
  • Graduate Ecology

Contact Information

Location: BNR 145
Office Phone: 435-797-7131
Utah State University
USU Department of Biology
5305 Old Main Hill
Logan, Utah 84322-5305


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (37)