Randy Fuller: Biologist, Stream Ecologist

Colgate Directory

Randy Fuller

Randy Fuller

Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
Biology, 227 Ho Science Center
p 315-228-7393


BS, Michigan State University, 1974; MS, North Texas State University, 1976; PhD, University of Toronto, 1980


Ecology, limnology, invertebrate zoology, environmental issues


Tropic relationships and energy flow in stream ecosystems, predator-prey interactions, algal-bacterial interactions


General Ecology, Freshwater Ecology, Invertebrate Zoology, Environmental Science.

My teaching interests include a variety of courses, most of which are centered around ecology and invertebrate zoology. I help teach the Evolution, Ecology and Diversity course (Biology 211), and I find it very interesting to see how the field of molecular biology is contributing to our understanding of evolutionary relationships among all groups of organisms from bacteria and protozoa to invertebrates, vertebrates and plants. I also enjoy teaching the ecology section and designing labs that illustrate ecological concepts to students early in their academic careers.

I also teach various field-oriented courses in ecology and will forever enjoy getting students out in the field and showing them how to quantify animal and plant communities. The labs often emphasize how ecologists answer questions by teaching students quantitative techniques in different ecosystems and using a comparative approach among different systems. We compare communities from different lakes, streams, forests, meadows, etc. and try to answer questions concerning community structure.

In my limnology (freshwater ecology) course, we sample lakes throughout the winter and early spring. The students in this course spend the first 6 weeks learning techniques in analyzing water chemistry and various other biotic components in lakes and streams and the last 6-7 weeks they conduct a mini-research project of their own design. This gives students a sense of what it takes to design, conduct, analyze, and interpret data and many will continue their research project in subsequent semesters in my research lab.

I also teach a course in advanced ecology which focuses on the more quantitative aspects of population and community ecology. The design of this course is similar to my limnology course with the lab teaching techniques and the students then taking these techniques and applying them to a mini-research project.

Within the Biology Department, I also teach a research tutorial in advanced aquatic ecology where students participate directly in my research program or they may bring with them a project from the limnology course or from some other experience, but all projects are directly tied to freshwater ecosystems.

In addition to these courses in biology, I also teach a course in Earth and Environmental Processes in the Environmental Studies Program and again, I enjoy watching students learn firsthand about ecosystem-level processes by examining the water chemistry of precipitation, groundwater, and surface water and determining how geology here and in the Adirondacks affects these processes.

Finally, I have taught the capstone course in the Environmental Studies Program where students bring their expertise in environmental biology, economics, geography, and geology to a project with an environmental slant. In 2005, the students in this course worked with an inter-municipal commission to investigate the environmental history, land use change, recreational opportunities, and water quality of Sauquoit Creek from its headwaters south of Utica to the mouth of the stream where it enters the Mohawk River in Utica.


* = undergraduate co-author

Fuller, R.L., C. Visscher, M. Anastasi*, J. Molina*, H. Salcido* and S. Ward*. 2008. Influence of canopy cover and insect life history stage on the recovery of stream communities after a spate. Hydrobiologia 598: 47-57.

Small, M.J., M.W. Doyle, R.L. Fuller and R.B. Manners. 2008. Hydrologic vs. geomorphic limitation on CPOM storage in stream ecosystems. Freshwater Biology 53: 1618-1631.

Fuller, R.L., C. Griego*, J.D. Meuhlbauer, J. Dennison* and M.W. Doyle. 2010. Response of stream macroinvertebrates in flow refugia and high scour areas to a series of floods: A reciprocal replacement study. J. North American Benthological Society 29: 750-760. DOI 10.1899/09-107-1.

Randy Fuller and Martin Doyle. 2010. JNABS Article Spotlight: Recreational flow releases and bridging disciplines. June 2010 - North American Benthological Society: In the Drift Newsletter.

Fuller, R.L., E. Shope*, S. Doyle*, L. Levy*, J. Owens*, L. Vo*, B. Wolyniak*, M. Small and M. Doyle. 2011. Impact of frequent water releases from Abanakee Dam on periphyton and macroinvertebrate communities in Adirondack Mountain Rivers. River Research and Applications 27: 630-645. DOI: 10.1002/rra.1385-1400.

Martin W. Doyle and Randall L. Fuller. 2011. Quantitatively evaluating restoration scenarios for rivers with recreational flow releases. In: Stream Restoration in Dynamic Fluvial Systems: Scientific Approaches, Analyses, and Tools. Edited by: Andrew Simon, Sean J. Bennett, and Janinie M. Castro. American Geophysical Monograph Series, 194:

Neatrour, M., R. Fuller, M. Lynch* and J. Crossett*. 2011. Leaf breakdown in neighboring Adirondack streams affected by episodic acidification. J. Freshwater Ecology 26: 365-379.


  • NSF Research Opportunity Awards
  • NSF Course and Curriculum Development Grants
  • NSF Instrumentation and Laboratory Grants
  • NSF Ecosystems Program Grant 2005-2009
  • NSF Cross-Disciplinary Research at Undergraduate Institutions Grant 2005-2010
  • Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute Grant 2012-13
  • President of the Society for Freshwater Science 2013-14 (elected 2012)
  • Colgate Alumni Council Distinguished Teaching Award 2012