Meet Our Wetlands Researchers

North Creek Wetlands Faculty Research

The University of Washington Bothell has many faculty members who actively conducting research in the North Creek Wetlands. Several of these professors also tie their research into class material and activities. Any students interested in undergraduate research in the wetlands with a specific professor should visit the undergraduate research webpage to learn more about the process and schedule an advising appointment.

Cynthia Chang

Assistant Professor, Division of Biological Sciences

The Chang lab is interested in applying plant community assembly theory to restoration practices in the UWB wetlands.



Warren Gold

Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences
Dr. Gold studies long term changes in wetland plant communities following restoration, invasive plant species patterns, and the interaction of birds with invasive plant dispersal in the wetland.


Jeff Jensen

Senior Lecturer, Division of Biological Sciences

Jeff Jensen's work in the wetlands relates mostly to its suitability for and use by salmonid fishes. He is particularly interested in the current status of kokanee salmon (sockeye salmon that do not migrate to the ocean) and the potential establishing/supplementing a native run.


Santiago Lopez

Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Dr. Lopez’ research tries to provide answers to questions such as what kinds of land use and land cover changes are occurring in the wetlands and why, and what are the consequences of these changes for biogeochemical cycling, ecosystem functioning and services the wetlands provide locally and regionally. The thread that runs through his research is its theoretical and empirical base in GISc (i.e. the science behind geotechnologies such as geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and global navigation satellite systems). His work highlights the creative use of GIS not only as a tool, but more importantly as a scientific framework that can help produce transformative geospatial knowledge of the environments we interact with.

Robert Turner

Senior Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Rob Turner chases the water in the wetland.  He and his students are working to characterize the changing quality and flow rates of water as it flows downhill from the campus, into various bioswales and ponds in the wetland fringe, across the floodplain wetland, and into North Creek.  Turner and his students are particularly concerned with the contributions of the crow roost to the high pathogen and nutrient levels in the wetland surface waters and North Creek.  Aside from characterizing what is happening to the hydrology and quality of runoff, Professor Turner is also supporting student research on methods to clean up the water.  Specifically, undergraduates are investigating the abilities of mushroom mycelium in extracting pathogens like E. Coli from contaminated streams in the wetland.  This involves controlled experiments in the laboratory as well as the placement of mycelium inoculated booms of straw and woodchips in the wetland streams.

Ursula Valdez

Part-time Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Dr. Valdez is a tropical biologist and conservationist with experience in birds of prey and bird community studies. She teaches courses on Ecology, Conservation, natural history, field ecology methods, and also is the director of the UW study abroad program in Peru. Her research is focused on the monitoring of bird communities at the UWB Wetlands. Since Spring 2015, Dr. Valdez and students have been working on setting up and estblishing a long-term Bird monitoring program. Visual and auditory surveys as well as natural history observations have been conducted during each season to document the diversity and composition of bird communities,as well as distribution on the different habitats found within the UWB wetlands. Long-term plans are also to monitor bird population dynamics and to assess the factors that determine the species presence and population changes, and how humans activities may be connected to these. So far, we have detected more than 59 species using the UWB wetlands and we are mapping the most frequently visited areas by species. Another goal of our project is to contribute with the education efforts for general public in topic associated with the key role of nature and specially the UWB wetlands for humans life.  In addition, we are collaborating with the Friends of North Creek Forest (FNCF)  and conducting surveys and observations of natural history in their forest property. Dr. Valdez welcomes any student who wants to learn and get trained in this project.

Doug Wacker

Assistant Professor, Division of Biological Sciences

Professor Wacker's research group studies the behavior and physiology of birds that use the North Creek Wetlands and related areas in the state of Washington.  Our current projects involve: 1) better understanding the vocal communication of crows on or near nocturnal roosts and 2) determining whether and how large crow roosts alter the behavior and physiology of resident territorial songbirds.  Undergraduate students who are interested in field, computer, and laboratory research in animal behavior and wildlife biology should consider joining our research group,