Maumee River. Source: Jay Langlois

Water Research at Ohio State

Water is one of the largest research areas in the environmental sciences at Ohio State, with dozens of faculty from multiple departments looking at water issues from every angle, including:

  • Freshwater ecology, wetlands, aquatic geochemistry
  • Water quantity; hydrology and hydrodynamics; modeling and sensing
  • Physical, ecological, social/cultural, economic watershed dynamics; agricultural water management and impact
  • Nutrient and contaminant science and technology; water treatment; remediation and mitigation

Go to the Water researchers group in our Directory.

Research Centers and Initiatives


Byrd Polar Research Center
Research at the Center focuses on the role of cold regions in the Earth's overall climate system, and encompasses geological sciences, geochemistry, glaciology, paleoclimatology, meteorology, remote sensing, ocean dynamics, and the history of polar exploration.

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Olentangy River Wetland Research Park
A long-term, large-scale wetland research facility designed to provide teaching, research, and service related to wetland and river science and ecological engineering. 

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Ohio Water Resources Center
The WRC promotes innovative, water-related research in the State of Ohio through research grant competitions, coordination of interdisciplinary research proposals, and educational outreach activities.

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Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory
Ohio Sea Grant is a statewide program that supports greater knowledge and stewardship of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes through research, education and outreach. Established in 1895, Stone Laboratory is the oldest freshwater biological field station in the United States and the center of Ohio State University’s teaching and research on Lake Erie.

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Sugar Creek Project
The Sugar Creek Project is an NSF-funded, community-based approach to watershed management that emphasizes local action and decision-making based on scientific data.The approach used is called the "Sugar Creek Method" and involves extensive benchmarking of headwater streams and water quality at a meaningful level to the local people.


Subsurface Energy Resource Center (SERC)
Contributes to the knowledge of subsurface resource development and its associated environmental issues and serves as a resource to policy makers. As an interdisciplinary university center, SERC serves as an “honest broker" to interface between industry, government agencies and non-government organizations.

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Environmental Policy Initiative
This Initiative aims to stimulate and focus systematic collaboration in environmental policy, through research, graduate and undergraduate education, communication with the policy community, and interaction with the national and international community of scholars in environmental policy.

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Environmental Communication, Analysis, and Research for Policy Working Group
Located within the School of Environment and Natural Resources, the ECARP is a multi-disciplinary research, development, and consultation center staffed by a core group of affiliated faculty members and graduate research associates representing the social, management, and natural sciences.

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Human Dimensions of the Environment Group
Human Dimensions of Environment (HDE) is an interdisciplinary research group at The Ohio State University focused on promoting social-behavioral approaches to the environment through cross-university research, teaching and outreach collaborations.

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Soil Environmental Technology Learning Laboratory
Two faculty team dedicated to eliminating nonpoint source pollution from sewage systems serving homes and business in rural Ohio through hands-on educational programming.

Graduate Programs with a Focus on Water

Environmental Engineering
Environment and Natural Resources
Geological Sciences
Environmental Science Graduate Program
Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology
Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences
Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Geodetic Science

For a complete list of environmental graduate programs, please visit the Graduate Programs page.