Patricia Saunders





I am an Associate Professor of Biology at Ashland University in Ashland, OH.  I am the current Director  of AU's Environmental Science Program.

I specialize in aquatic ecology.  I have worked in small lakes, warm coastal estuaries, and a large ocean region in the Arctic called the North Water.

My students and I now work at two field sites several miles from campus.  One is a natural kettle lake--it is 3x deeper than near-by Charles Mill Lake (a flood control reservoir). Some of us also work on some very dynamics wetlands at the Black Fork Wetlands Preserve.
P Saunders at Cape Hershell, Ellesmere Island, Canada  
Patty Saunders at Cape Herschel, Ellesmere Island, Canada
Sites Lake, OH, transects
An image of Sites Lake, OH, with the GPS location of some
depth soundings marked.
For several years, my research students and I have spent time studying the ecology of zooplankton in Sites Lake in Richland Co., OH.  We spend even more time in the lab using a variety of analytical tools.

We are interested in food webs and how they are affected by habitat differences.  The larger zooplankton in Sites Lake migrate daily to avoid the more well-lit areas of the lake.  They almost certainly do this to avoid visual predators, aka planktivorous fishes.  
In spring (odd years), my Limnology class takes a week-end field trip to Lake Erie.  We focus on coastal wetlands and estuaries.  We study the dynamics and variety of habitats found in these ecosystems.   We see biological diversity--in spring, in Ohio--including massive numbers of plankton species and 25 and more species of birds, including sandhill cranes and bald eagles!  Our field trip emphasizes human impacts on sites across northern Ohio, from more rural to more urban landscapes.

Limnology is next offered in Spring 2019.
limnology students sample the lower estuary, OWC 
Jessica Parant (AU'09), Sherry Chronister
(AU'09), and Valerie Peck (AU'09) sample the lower  estuary at Old Woman Creek National
Estuarine Research Reserve, Huron, OH.

Dr. Patricia A. Saunders, Department of Biology, 401 College Ave., Ashland University, Ashland, OH 44805  ~  419-289-5252