Understanding our environment

Jerry deNoyelles

Deputy Director and Senior Scientist
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Primary office:
108C Higuchi Hall


Reservoir assessment program

Academic degrees
Ph.D., Cornell University, 1970
M.S., University of Nebraska,  1966
A.B., Biology, Gettysburg College, 1963

Program affiliations
Reservoir Assessment Program
KU Field Station

Area of specialization
Aquatic ecology

Research interests
Most recently Jerry has been studying particular Kansas reservoirs in an attempt to better understand water quality issues related to land use in watersheds and the aging process in which reservoirs fill with sediments at varying rates. With several students and faculty from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, as well as civil and environmental engineering, and chemistry, he also is studying the degradation of organic pollutants such as pesticides and pharmaceutical products under different experimentally manipulated environmental conditions. He also continues to conduct research on subepilimnetic phytoplankton in lakes begun more than 20 years ago at the Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario, Canada, and more recently also pursued in lakes elsewhere in Canada and in the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming.

Often his research includes using experimental manipulation to simulate certain types of aquatic disturbances that produce phytoplankton changes, such as those resulting from eutrophication, acidification, climate change and toxicant stress. For such experimentation, at KU, he has designed and constructed nearly 200 experimental ponds (0.045 hectare), outdoor fiberglass tanks (10 cubic meters) and different types of in situ enclosures for smaller scale experiments within these systems. Research over the 20-year history of KU's aquatic field station reported in nearly 100 publications also has continually refined the use of experimentally manipulated surrogate ecosystems for aquatic research. In 1991 a 4.5-hectare,13-meter-deep reservoir was constructed at this field station (5 kilometers from campus) in a protected 50-hectare watershed to add further variety to this compliment of experimental ecosystems. As one of our projects with this reservoir, Jerry, his students and other faculty have been closely monitoring and experimentally manipulating the vertical migration of subepilimnetic phytoplankton populations like those in natural lakes that that also continue to study.

Current projects

  • Ecology of lake and reservoir ecosystems
  • Effects of stress on aquatic ecosystems
  • Vertical distribution of water quality conditions in thermally stratified water bodies
  • Use of in situ experimental methods to determine ecological cause and effect in aquatic ecosystems.

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