Jonathan Stetler


Dr. Jonathan Stetler earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he studied the long-term effects of environmental changes on aquatic ecosystems. Dr. Stetler is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences where he aims to incorporate real-world data sets into the classroom whenever possible. Dr. Stetler has extensive experience working with large data sets and recently published a comprehensive long-term limnological data set of over 400 lakes across the world. Dr. Stetler is excited to introduce students to these large data sets in the classroom. 

Education & Training

Ph.D. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2021 - Biology

B.S. Paul Smith's College, 2017 - Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences


Research Interests

I am interested in understanding the effects of environmental changes on freshwater quality. I am creating regional research collaborations across the Northeastern United States to understand the effects of specific environmental changes like global climate change, brownification, and road salt application on freshwater ecosystems.

I use a combination of data-intensive methods in my research including field studies, high-frequency environmental sensors, and ecosystem modeling to understand and predict how ecosystems may change in response to anthropogenic stressors in the future.



I am also interested in collaborating with small not-for-profit organizations to conduct research and create scientific outreach materials geared towards the general public. I am currently collaborating with science communicators at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies to develop a variety of outreach materials focused on water quality issues.

I also collaborate with the Ausable River Association to maintain a high-frequency environmental sensor network in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, New York. I recently completed four interpretative signs around Mirror Lake. Read more here:    


Undergraduate Research Program

I occasionally have opportunities for students to gain research experience and participate in RPI's undergraduate research program for credit. Recent projects have focused on the ponds at Grafton Lakes State Park near campus. Typically, I look for one student in the summer to assist with field work on the ponds. During the fall and spring, I look for students to assist with laboratory work and data analysis. These research experiences culminate in a written report.

A few recent projects:
- Erin Thomas (Summer 2022). Erin participated in RPI’s Undergraduate Research Program for credit. Erin assisted with the monitoring and data analysis of nearby water bodies at Grafton Lakes State Park. Erin published her data in the  Environmental Data Initiative. Erin learned skills in environmental field sampling and data analysis. Erin discovered a newfound passion for coding and is hoping to continue computational biology research in the future.  

- Denzell Dixon (Fall 2022). Denzell participated in RPI’s Undergraduate Research Program for credit. Denzell analyzed data from lakes in the National Ecological Observatory network and three lakes in the Poconos to investigate various methods for estimating water clarity. Denzell presented his research to scientists at the Darrin Freshwater Institute in Winter and is hopeful to present his research at RPI’s Undergraduate Research Forum in Spring 2023.

- Erin Barnes (Fall 2022). Erin participated in RPI’s Undergraduate Research Program for credit. Erin created three interpretive signs that will be placed at Lacawac Sanctuary as part of a Lake Interpretive Trail.

Please email me to discuss potential projects.

Primary Research Focus
My research focus is on Freshwater Aquatic Ecology and Limnology.


Office Hours

Please email me to set up a time. In person and webex meetings are available.

Current Courses

BIOL 1015 - Introduction to Biology Computational Laboratory

The goal of this laboratory course is to learn about biology through computational data analysis. Students will be introduced to a wide variety of real-world biological data sets. Students will learn how to manage, visualize, analyze, and interpret biological data. This class culminates in a collaborative research project. Students enrolled in a major other than biology and students with an interest in computational biology are particularly encouraged to register for this course. Prerequisites/Corequisites: Corequisites: BIOL 1010. When Offered: Fall and Spring terms annually. Credit: 1

BIOL 4200 - Biostatistics

An introduction to the concepts and techniques of modern statistics. Computer-based, in-class sessions will emphasize hands-on application of statistical techniques using data and examples drawn from the biological and medical sciences. Pre-class, online exercises will prepare students for in-depth classroom explorations. Topics covered will include sampling, regression, analysis of variance, and factor analysis, MANOVA, maximum likelihood methods, discriminant analysis, time series analysis, and forecasting. The final project requires analysis of a major research-related data set and write-up of results in the format of a scientific paper. Prerequisites/Corequisites: BIOL 1010, MATH 1010, or permission of the instructor. When Offered: Fall, spring, and summer term annually. Credit Hours: 4


BIOL 2961 - Field Experiences in Aquatic Biology

This course provides students with an introduction to the biology and ecology of aquatic habitats found in upstate New York, with a focus on field sampling techniques and data analysis. Topics covered may include lakes, rivers, wetlands, and other inland water bodies, as well as the unique flora and fauna that inhabit these systems. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Troy, NY campus is uniquely situated near the Huron Valley, an aquatic ecosystem with both urban and rural land use. This location can provide excellent research opportunities for students who are interested in biotic responses to environmental stressors. In this class students will conduct a semester-long research project as individuals or in groups where they will derive a research question, collect and identify flora or fauna, and prepare novel environmental data for publication in a free data repository. Additionally, students will design a poster or oral presentation to be shared with the rest of class and instructors.  When Offered: Summer term annually. Credit Hours: 2 * Co-taught with Dr. Darrin Hunt


BIOL 1010 - Introduction to Biology 

Course Description: Introduction to biological systems. Discussion of problems associated with biological organization, scaling, and hierarchy. Major topics covered include evolution, genetics and medicine, and ecology. The course considers the biological components of various environmental, social, and individual problems. Course is taught using both traditional and research-based pedagogical methods. Prerequisites/Corequisites: BIOL 1015 Introduction to Biology Laboratory is a corequisite. When Offered: Fall, spring, and summer terms annually. Credit Hours: 3


The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Jonathan Stetler has 5 indexed publications in the subjects of Environmental Science, Agricultural and Biological Sciences, Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Stephen F. Jane, Joshua L. Mincer, Maximilian P. Lau, Abigail S.L. Lewis, Jonathan T. Stetler, Kevin C. Rose
Global Change Biology
, 29
, 2023
, pp.1009-1023
Jonathan T. Stetler, Lesley B. Knoll, Charles T. Driscoll, Kevin C. Rose
Limnology And Oceanography Letters
, 6
, 2021
, pp.182-191
Stephen F. Jane, Gretchen J.A. Hansen, Benjamin M. Kraemer, Peter R. Leavitt, Joshua L. Mincer, Rebecca L. North, Rachel M. Pilla, Jonathan T. Stetler, Craig E. Williamson, R. Iestyn Woolway, Lauri Arvola, Sudeep Chandra, Curtis L. DeGasperi, Laura Diemer, Julita Dunalska, Oxana Erina, Giovanna Flaim, Hans Peter Grossart, K. David Hambright, Catherine Hein, Josef Hejzlar, Lorraine L. Janus, Jean Philippe Jenny, John R. Jones, Lesley B. Knoll, Barbara Leoni, Eleanor Mackay, Shin Ichiro S. Matsuzaki, Chris McBride, Dörthe C. Müller-Navarra, Andrew M. Paterson, Don Pierson, Michela Rogora, James A. Rusak, Steven Sadro, Emilie Saulnier-Talbot, Martin Schmid, Ruben Sommaruga, Wim Thiery, Piet Verburg, Kathleen C. Weathers, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, Kiyoko Yokota, Kevin C. Rose
, 594
, 2021
, pp.66-70
Jonathan T. Stetler, Scott Girdner, Jeremy Mack, Luke A. Winslow, Taylor H. Leach, Kevin C. Rose
Limnology and Oceanography
, 66
, 2021
, pp.954-964
J. Curt Stager, Brendan Wiltse, Brian F. Cumming, Thomas M. Holsen, Jonathan Stetler, Corey Laxson, Cristina E. Marcillo, Donald F. Charles
Lake and Reservoir Management
, 35
, 2019
, pp.208-223

View All Scopus Publications

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