Grace Wilkinson

Assistant Professor [EEOBA]
Grace Wilkinson

I received my BA in Biology from Saint Olaf College in 2010 and my PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia in 2015. I have been an assistant professor of Limnology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology since January 2017.


My research interests fall along the continuum of curiosity-driven to use-inspired with two major themes: ecological resilience and nutrient dynamics in lakes. I use a combination of comparative surveys, ecosystem experiments, and time series to investigate patterns and controls on aquatic ecosystem function. Specifically, I am interested in understanding what controls carbon and nutrient cycling in lakes and the resultant impact on the occurrence, severity and toxicity of algal blooms. Additionally, I am developing tools for managers to be able to predict large and sudden changes in lakes, termed regime shifts. These statistical tools measure resilience in the ecosystem. In a broader context, I am interested in identifying mechanisms that confer or deter from resilience in an ecosystem and how this information can inform management and restoration of lentic water bodies.

Broader Impact: 

I work with local, state, and federal agencies to monitor the water quality of Iowa’s publically significant lakes and reservoirs. This includes characterizing the physical, chemical, and biological status of Iowa’s lakes.

Key Environmental Science Publications: 

Pace, ML, RD Batt, CD Buelo, SR Carpenter, JJ Cole, J Kurtzweil, GM Wilkinson. 2017. 
Reversal of a Cyanobacterial Bloom in Response to Early Warnings. Proceedings of the 
National Academy of Sciences USA 114(2): 352-357.

Wilkinson, GM, C Buelo, JJ Cole, ML Pace. 2016. Exogenously produced CO2 more than 
doubles the flux of greenhouse gases from three north temperate lakes. Geophysical 
Research Letters, doi: 10.1002/2016GL067732

Wilkinson, GM, ML Pace, JJ Cole. 2013. Terrestrial dominance of organic matter in north 
temperate lakes. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 27: 43-51.

Wilkinson, GM, SR Carpenter, JJ Cole, ML Pace, C Yang. 2013. Terrestrial support of pelagic 
consumers among lakes: Patterns and variability revealed from a multi-lake study. 
Freshwater Biology 58: 2037-2049.