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Nancy Rybicki

Nancy Rybicki is an Emeritus Research Hydrologist with the USGS Water Resources Mission Area.


I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1980, my Master of Science degree in 1986 and my PhD in 2000 in Environmental Biology from George Mason University (GMU).  I am an affiliate professor in the Environmental Science and Policy Department at GMU as well as a hydrologist in the USGS Water Resources Mission Area in Reston, Virginia.  I was with the USGS Nation Research Program from 1979 until 2016 and am currently a member of the Vegetation and Hydrogeomorphic Relations Project where I lead the submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) task.   I am an aquatic plant ecologist and have designed and conducted studies directed toward the recognition and understanding of processes that affect estuarine, riverine, floodplain, and wetland ecosystems.  This included fundamental research on the factors affecting diversity and the distribution of aquatic vegetation in estuaries and the effects of vegetation on water quality and flow.  I have studied factors influencing distribution and abundance of submersed aquatic macrophytes in estuaries and worked with the Environmental Protection Agency and other members of the Chesapeake Bay Program to set water-quality goals and habitat restoration targets for submersed aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay.  I also participated in USGS multidisciplinary studies in the south Florida Everglades focusing on determining vegetative resistance to flow to improve surface water models. In addition, I quantified the uptake of nutrients in plant material relative to other nutrient cycling processes in order to better define the important role of vegetation in nutrient and sediment trapping in a Piedmont floodplain.