Brenda Moraska Lafrancois, PhD
Brenda received her BS degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from UW-L in 1997 and was selected as the Department of Biology's Senior of the Year. Brenda was advised by Dr. Ronald Rada, then Director of the River Studies Center. Brenda went on to earn her Ph.D. in ecology from Colorado State University. Her doctoral dissertation was titled, " Algal and invertebrate responses to atmospheric nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain lakes."
Since graduating from CSU, she has been the Great Lake's Area Aquatic Ecologist for the National Park Service (NPS) and is stationed at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station at Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. In her position as Regional Aquatic Ecologist, Brenda provides scientific information and expertise to support the management of aquatic resources in the nine park units of the Great Lakes region.
The River Studies Center has directed its SPOTLIGHT on Dr. Lafrancois because of her outstanding leadership in the field of aquatic science and because she continues a strong tradition as a mentor to future generations of aquatic scientists. She has published work in NPS technical reports and in professional journals including Hydrobiologia, The Journal of the North American Benthological Society, The Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. She has received numerous honors including the National Park Service Director’s Award for Professional Excellence (Midwest Region Awardee, 2007) and the National Park Service Director’s Award for Natural Resource Research (Midwest Region Awardee, 2008). In her commendation for the latter award, her supervisor stated, "Brenda’s enthusiasm, dedication, integrity, and passion for park resources make her the consummate natural resource professional. She is liked and admired by all who have the pleasure to work with her. Brenda is in a word, awesome, and most deserving of recognition!"
Brenda continues to interact with the River Studies Center in its research mission, which is supported in part by a Cooperative Research Agreement with the National Park Service, Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and is interested in involving undergraduate and graduate students in ecological studies in the nine parks of the Great Lakes region.
Needless to say, the UW-L River Studies Center is extremely proud of Dr. Lafrancios and of the many other alumni who have dedicated themselves to excellence in aquatic science!