The Watershed Institute

The Watershed Institute Labs

The Watershed Environment and Ecology Lab

Image of John Olson

Director: Dr. John Olson

Location: Chapman Science - Room S305

Mission: We study how streams (both flowing and dry), rivers, lakes, and wetlands respond to human stressors. We then develop tools for natural resource agencies to use in assessing, monitoring, and restoring freshwater ecosystems. This helps us understand the current status of freshwater ecosystems, and intact ecosystems can be protected while degraded systems can be restored. These tools help protect threatened and endangered species as well as water quality.

To be a part of this lab: Contact if you are interested in research/capstone opportunities.

Return of the Natives Restoration and Education Project

Image of RON greenhouse

Directors: Laura Lee Lienk ,MS (Co-Director) 

Location: Watershed Building #42

Mission: The mission of Return of the Natives is to bring people to nature and nature to people through hands-on habitat restoration and environmental education

To be a part of this lab: Visit the watershed building for more information, or contact

Agricultural Bio Geochemistry and Bio Remediation Lab

The lab posing with a tractor.

Director: Arlene Haffa

Location: Building 13 Labs 101 & 113

Mission: We are interested in how best management farming practices (BMPs) impact economic and environmental sustainability. This includes work on the nitrogen cycle as well as pesticides. We are also interested in finding ways to mitigate point source nitrogen and pesticide contamination of surface waters using bioreactors.

To be a part of this lab: Contact for research / capstone opportunities

The Terrestrial Wildlife Ecology Lab                                   

Image of The Terrestrial Wildlife Ecology Lab

Director: Dr. Jenny Duggan (Co-Director) 

Location: Chapman Science - Room E 120

Mission: This lab studies the responses of wildlife to changes in land use and cover. We conduct research that tests ecological theory while providing the information, methods, and tools needed to make conservation and management decisions.  We strive to balance human health and well-being with that of wildlife.

To be a part of this lab: Contact if you are a student in either the Department of Applied Environmental Science or the Department of Biology and Chemistry interested in research/capstone opportunities.

 The Plant Pathology Lab

Image of The Plant Pathology Lab

Director: Dr. JP Dundore-Arias

Location: Chapman Science - Room E325

Mission: The Plant Pathology Laboratory at CSUMB is interested in investigating the biology, ecology, and management of plant-associated microbes of agricultural crops grown in the California Salinas Valley and beyond. Ongoing projects are exploring the fate of soilborne pathogens in agricultural production systems, and their control through integrated management approaches, including chemical and biological control, cultural practices, and microbiome-based strategies.

To be a part of this lab: Plant pathology research opportunities for students in BIO or AGPS majors interested in completing independent studies, honors-level capstone projects, as well as through grant-funded projects. Additional sources of funding through UROC, ARI, or USDA student research fellowships. Contact Dr. JP ( if you are interested.