Due to a lapse in appropriations, the majority of USGS websites may not be up to date and may not reflect current conditions. Websites displaying real-time data, such as Earthquake and Water and information needed for public health and safety will be updated with limited support. Additionally, USGS will not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted.  For more information, please see www.doi.gov/shutdown

Jeff Houser



2003 – present: Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center.   

2004 – present: Adjunct, Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin—La Crosse.

2001- 2003: Postdoctoral Research Associate—Stream Ecology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Research Interests

Aquatic ecology, large rivers, streams, lakes, ecosystem metabolism, carbon and nutrient cycling, biogeochemistry, food webs, applied ecology, ecological modeling

Professional Societies

American Society of Limnology and Oceanography; Society for Freshwater Science; Mississippi River Research Consortium


Ph.D. in Zoology – University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001

M.S. in Zoology – University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998

B.S. in Biology – Wake Forest University, 1994

Selected Publications

Bouska, K. L., J. N. Houser, N. R. De Jager & J. Hendrickson, 2018. Developing a shared understanding of the Upper Mississippi River: the foundation of an ecological resilience assessment. Ecology and Society 23(2) doi:10.575

Houser. J.N. 2016. Contrasts between channels and backwaters in a large, floodplain river: testing our understanding of nutrient cycling, phytoplankton abundance and suspended solids dynamics. Freshwater Science 35:457-473. DOI: 10.1086/686171

De Jager, N.R. & J.N. Houser. 2016. Patchiness in a large floodplain river: Associations among hydrology, nutrients, and fish communities. River Research and Applications 32(9):1915-1926. DOI: 10.1002/rra.3026

Kreiling, R.M. and J.N. Houser. 2016. Long term decreases in phosphorus and suspended solids, but not nitrogen, in six Upper Mississippi River tributaries, 1991-2011. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 188:454. DOI: 10.1007/s10661-016-5464-3

Houser, J.N., L.A. Bartsch, W.B. Richardson, J.T. Rogala, and J.F. Sullivan. 2015. Ecosystem metabolism and nutrient dynamics in the main channel and backwaters of the Upper Mississippi River. Freshwater Biology DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12617

Giblin, S.M., J.N. Houser, J.F. Sullivan, H.A. Langrehr, J.T. Rogala, and B.D. Campbell. 2014. Thresholds in the response of free-floating plant abundance to variation in hydraulic connectivity, nutrients, and macrophyte abundance in a large floodplain river. Wetlands 34: 413-425. DOI 10.1007/s13157-013-0508-8

Gray, B. R., J.R. Rogala, and J.N. Houser. 2013. Treating floodplain lakes of large rivers as study units for variables that vary within lakes; an evaluation using chlorophyll a and inorganic suspended solids data from floodplain lakes of the Upper Mississippi River. River Research and Applications 29:330-342. DOI: 10.1002/rra.1603

Houser, J.N., S.M. Giblin, W.F. James, H.A. Langrehr, J.T. Rogala, J.F. Sullivan, and B.R. Gray. 2013. Causes and consequences of abundant duckweed and filamentous algae in backwater lakes of the Upper Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wisconsin. River Systems 21:71-89. DOI: 10.1127/1868-5749/2013/0080

De Jager, N.R., and J.N. Houser. 2012. Variation in water-mediated connectivity influences patch distributions of total N, total P, and TN:TP ratios in the Upper Mississippi River, USA. Freshwater Science 31:1254-1272. DOI: 10.1899/12-035.1

Houser, J.N., D.W. Bierman, R.M. Burdis, and L.A. Soeken-Gittinger. 2010. Longitudinal trends and discontinuities in nutrients, chlorophyll and suspended solids in the Upper Mississippi River: implications for transport, processing, and export by large rivers. Hydrobiologia 651:127–144

Houser, J.N. and Richardson, W.B. 2010. Nitrogen and phosphorus in the Upper Mississippi River: transport, processing, and effects on the river ecosystem. Hydrobiologia 640:71-88

Houser, J.N. 2006. Water color affects the stratification, surface temperature, heat content, and mean epilimnetic irradiance of small lakes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 63:2447-2455

Houser, J.N., P.J. Mulholland, and K.O. Maloney. 2006. Upland disturbance affects headwater stream nutrients and suspended sediments during baseflow and stormflow. Journal of Environmental Quality 35:352–365

Houser, J.N., P.J. Mulholland, and K.O. Maloney. 2005. Catchment disturbance and stream metabolism: patterns in ecosystem respiration and gross primary production along a gradient of upland soil and vegetation disturbance. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 24:538-552

Houser, J.N., D.L. Bade, J.J. Cole, M.L. Pace. 2003. The dual influences of dissolved organic carbon on hypolimnetic metabolism: organic substrate and photosynthetic inhibition. Biogeochemistry 64:247-269