Steven Sadro

Steven Sadro

Position Title
Assistant Professor

Environmental Science and Policy


Sadro, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, focuses on how biological, physical, and chemical factors interact to regulate aquatic systems. Sadro completed his Ph.D. in limnology at UC Santa Barbara before joining the faculty at UC Davis in 2016.

Research interests:

Limnology, landscape limnology, ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, aquatic community ecology, hydrology and watershed ecology, conservation and restoration ecology, estuarine and wetland ecology, global change

Brief overview:

Limnology is the study of inland waters. As water flows across the landscape, a wide range of processes, both natural and derived from human activities, affect aquatic ecosystems. I study the impact of these processes on the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems. In particular, I’m interested in terrestrial-aquatic interactions, the flow, cycling, and transformation of carbon and nutrients, food-web dynamics, and the roles of top-down and bottom-up processes in regulating aquatic ecosystems.

I combine the use of long-term watershed studies with experimental manipulations and comparative analyses to understand ecological processes in habitats ranging from alpine and arctic lakes to coastal streams and estuaries. Much of my research is conducted in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, where steep landscape gradients provide a natural laboratory to study these dynamics. I collaborate internationally and work in aquatic systems around the world to place local and regional research in a synthetic global context.

Our society faces numerous environmental challenges as we navigate the waters of a rapidly changing world. My research seeks to inform management policies to chart a path toward the continued health and conservation of our aquatic ecosystems.

Current projects:

  • Studying long-term watershed and limnological responses to climate change and atmospheric deposition
  • Analyzing effects of climate change on lake-heat budgets
  • Researching carbon-cycling and ecosystem metabolism in lakes
  • Understanding effects of dissolved organic matter on lakes
  • Examining terrestrial-aquatic linkages and reciprocal resource flows between lakes and landscapes