Dr. Jennifer Tank

Dr. Jennifer Tank Image

Dr. Jennifer Tank

Director, Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Ludmilla F., Stephen J., and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame

Jennifer Tank is the Ludmilla F. and Stephen J. Galla Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI). In this directorship, Tank governs the ND-GAIN operation as a whole to ensure its success.

Tank studies nutrient and carbon cycling in streams and rivers and the influence of human activities on water quality and stream health. She explores questions about the cycling of nitrogen and carbon in stream ecosystems with a focus on how ecosystem function can contribute to improved water quality, which is essential for life and well-being on the planet. Her research raises important questions about the ecological impacts of human choices on the natural world, with special emphasis on freshwater.

Currently, much of Tank’s research takes place in the agricultural Midwest where she and her team explore management strategies designed to remove harmful excess nitrogen and phosphorus from streams though improved biological uptake. Tank works directly with managers in the Midwest to test ways to mitigate these pollutants in order to protect sensitive downstream lake and coastal ecosystems. With her expertise on land use impacts on aquatic ecosystems, Tank helps the ND-GAIN team think about possible impacts to aquatic ecosystems under climate change scenarios and how communities might take proactive steps towards lessening human impacts on freshwater.

An international authority on the cycling of nutrients in freshwater ecosystems, Tank has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles on nitrogen and carbon cycling in streams and rivers. Tank is a 2013 Leopold Leadership Fellow.