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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Department of Biological Sciences
Biology Faculty
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Department of Biological Sciences
1W14 Jonsson-Rowland Science Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 Eighth Street
Troy, NY 12180-3590

Phone: (518) 276-6446
Fax: (518) 276-2344

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Biology Home Undergraduate Graduate Faculty Research News and Events Contacts
Sandra A. Nierzwicki-Bauer

Professor of Biology
Director, Darrin Fresh Water Institute

Education and Training

B.A. University of New Hampshire, 1979

Ph.D. University of New Hampshire, 1983
Title: “Novel Aspects of Ultrastructure in Two Species of Cyanobacteria”

Postdoctoral Training: University of Chicago, 1984-1985
Molecular Genetics 



Troy Campus: Materials Research Center (MRC) 306
(518) 276-2359

Bolton Landing Field Station: 5060 Lakeshore Drive, Bolton Landing NY 12814
(518) 644-3541

Research Interests

  • Molecular studies of microbial and picoeukaryote communities in lakes and rivers.
  • Basic and applied studies of invasive species (zebra mussels).
  • Water resource management and environmental remote sensing.

Molecular studies of microbial and picoeukaryote communities in lakes and rivers. The biodiversity of freshwater microbial and picoeukaryotes is still understudied (compared with marine environments) with many more organisms to be discovered. We are using molecular approaches, as well as more traditional culturing and microscopic methodologies to elucidate the structure and function of community composition in Adirondack lakes, some of which have been impacted by acid rain or other pollutants.

Basic and applied studies of invasive species (Zebra Mussels and Asian Clams). Zebra mussels and Asian clams are invasive species that have significant economic and ecological impacts. We are carrying out basic studies on these invasives which include; development of molecular probes for their early detection and bioassays for gaining a better understanding of chemical and physical factors that influence or can predict their survival. We are carrying out applied studies that deal with management of these invasives once they have been introduced into freshwater bodies, as well as proactive monitoring/detection strategies to help prevent colonization.

Water resource management and environmental remote sensing. We are using a combination of traditional and advanced techniques to study human impacts on water resources. The approaches that we are utilizing include automated water chemistry profiling systems, side-scan sonar, satellite remote sensing, solar powered autonomous underwater vehicles (SAUV’s) and hydroacoutics, to name a few.

Selected Publications

Nierzwicki-Bauer, S.A., C.W. Boylen, L. W. Eichler, J.P. Harrison, J. W. Sutherland, W. Shaw, R. A. Daniels, D. F. Charles, F. W. Acker, T. J. Sullivan, B. Momen and P. Bukaveckas. 2010. Acidification in the Adirondacks: Defining the Biota in Trophic Levels of 30 Chemically Diverse Acid-Impacted Lakes. Environ. Sci. Tech. 44: 5721-5727.[1st Runner Up Best Science Paper in ES &T 2010]

Porter-Goff, E.R., C.W. Boylen and S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. 2010. Periphyton dynamics along a stream with a gradient of human impact. J. Freshwat. Ecol. 25:385-394.

Wimbush, J., M.E. Frischer, J.W. Zarzynski and S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. 2009. Eradication of colonizing populations of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) by early detection and SCUBA removal: Lake George, NY. Aquat. Conserv.: Mar. Fresh. Ecosyst. 19:703-713.

Lawrence, G.B., K.M. Roy, B.P. Baldigo, H.A. Simonin, S.B. Capone, J.W. Sutherland, S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer and C.W. Boylen.  2008.  Chronic and episodic acidification of Adirondack streams from acid rain in 2003-2005.  J. Environ. Quality. 37: 2264-2274.

Percent, S. F., M.E. Frischer, P.A. Vescio, E. B. Duffy, V. Milano, M. McLellan, B.M. Stevens, C.W. Boylen and S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. 2008. Bacterial community structure of acid impacted lakes: What controls diversity? Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74:1856-1868.

Sullivan, T.J., B.J. Cosby, A.T. Herlihy, C.T. Driscoll, I. J. Fernandez, T.C. McDonnell, C.W. Boylen, S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer, and K.U. Snyder. 2007. Assessment of the extent to which intensively-studied lakes are representative of the Adirondack region and response to future changes in acidic deposition. Water Air Soil Pollut. 185:279-291.

Lawrence, G.B., J.W. Sutherland, C.W. Boylen, S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer, B. Momen, B.P. Baldigo, and H.A. Simonin. 2007.   Acid rain effects on aluminum mobilization clarified by inclusion of strong organic acids.  Environ. Sci. Tech. 41:93-98.

Momen, B., G.B. Lawrence, S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer, J.W. Sutherland, L.W. Eichler, J.P. Harrison, and C.W. Boylen. 2006.  Trends in summer chemistry linked to productivity in lakes recovering from acid deposition in the Adirondack Region of New York.  Ecosystems 9:1306-1317.

Richards, T.A., A. A. Vepritskiy, D. Gouliamova, and S. A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. 2005. The molecular diversity of freshwater picoeukaryotes from an oligotrophic lake reveals diverse, distinctive and globally dispersed lineages. Environ. Microbiol. 7:1413-1425.

Frischer, M.E., B.R. McGrath, A.S. Hansen, P.A. Vescio, J.A.Wyllie, J. Wimbush, and S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. 2005. Introduction pathways, differential survival of adult and larval zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), and possible management strategies, in an Adirondack Lake; Lake George, NY. Lake and Res. Mng. 21:391-402.

Vepritskiy, A. A., I. A. Vitol, and S. A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. 2002.  Novel group I intron in tRNALeu(UAA) gene of a gamma proteobacterium isolated from a deep subsurface environment. J. Bacteriol. 184:1481-1487.

Frischer, M. E., A.S. Hansen, J.A. Wyllie, J. Wimbush, J. Murray, and S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. 2002. Specific amplification of the 18S rRNA gene as a method to detect zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) larvae in plankton samples. Hydrobiologia. 487:33-44.

Barns, S.M. and S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer.  1997.  Microbial diversity in ocean, surface and subsurface environments.  In: J. Banfield and K. Nealson (eds.) Reviews in Mineralogy.  Vol. 35.  Geomicrobiology Interactions Between Microbes and Minerals. Publisher Mineralogical Society of America.  pp.44-62.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Department of Biological Sciences