Hairston, Nelson George

Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Environmental Science


I study freshwater organisms in lakes and their ecological and evolutionary response to environmental change. I am Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Environmental Science, past Chair of EEB, past Sr. Assoc. Dean in A&S, and former member of the Cornell Board of Trustees. Lakes and ponds are superb natural laboratories for understanding how the ecological world functions.  Like plants and animals on ocean islands, the populations and communities of organisms in lakes are more isolated from exchange with nearby habitats than are their terrestrial counterparts.  The microbes, algae, plants and animals that live submersed beneath the water’s surface are nearly all restricted to their liquid environment, unable to cross the land that surrounds them.  Thus confined, their interactions are often intense, easily discerned, and complex in fascinating ways.  Undergrads, grad students and postdocs, in my lab take part in research on these topics. I teach a variety of courses including: BioEE 1610 Ecology and the Environment, BioEE 4570/1 Limnology: The Ecology of Lakes, and BioEE 6601 Tropical Field Ecology.   

Research Areas research areas

Geographic Focus

administrative responsibilities

  • Senior Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences