Janet K Thompson-McHendrie, Ph.D.


I am an emeritus aquatic ecologist in the Water Mission Area in Menlo Park, California. My research has focused on the function of the benthic community as both consumers and prey in the food web and as contaminant vectors in estuarine and tidal freshwater ecosystems. I specifically study (1) how and when the structure and function of the benthic community reflects changes in the overlying quality water, (2) how and when processes within the benthic community control the productivity, food web complexity, and ulitmately the health of aquatic ecosystems, and (3) how invasive non-indigenous species affect community and ecosystem dynamics. I have mostly used the San Francisco Estuary and tidal freshwater Delta as my field laboratory in my 40+ years of study, but have also worked on the benthos on the coastal shelf in Northern California and in Washington and Oregon estuaries.


  • Stanford University, Ph.D., Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Department of Civil Engineering, 1999
  • California State University, M.A., Marine Biology, 1979
  • Lewis and Clark College, B.S., Biology, 1972