Dr. Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens

Associate Clinical Professor
photo of Dr. Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens
Phone: (360) 546-9115
Fax: (360) 546-9064
Located in Life Sciences (VSCI) 230A
Office Hours: For Spring 2015: Mondays 1-2p
Support Staff: Andrea Hanmann


Course ID Title Meeting Time Location Semester Syllabus
Geology 230 Introductory Oceanography Tu,Th 1:25-2:40p VMMC 22 Spring 2015
ENV_SCI 491 Senior Seminar Mondays 3:10-4:10p VELS 12 Spring 2015


My research interests fall broadly within Biological Oceanography and Aquatic Ecology, with a focus on the community ecology of zooplankton, in particular the role of mesozooplankton (organisms < 2mm in size) and microzooplankton (organisms <200 µm in size) in pelagic food webs. I have investigated the distribution, composition and trophic ecology of meso- and microzooplankton in a range of aquatic environments, from the open ocean (equatorial Pacific) to coastal and estuarine regions (coastal CA, San Francisco Estuary, Columbia River Estuary) to freshwater rivers and lakes (Columbia River, Vancouver Lake). I am especially interested in how microzooplankton impact the flow of energy through the lower food web through their behavior as predators and grazers, as well as prey for higher organisms, and their role in modulating harmful algal blooms. I am currently funded by the Bonneville Power Authority and the National Science Foundation, and in the recent past have been funded by the State of Washington Water Research Center, the WA Department of Ecology, and the Office of Naval Research.

In addition to my scientific research activity, I am also very interested in science education and pedagogy, in particular training science graduate students as educators and providing professional development for in-service science teachers. I was recently the lead PI and Project Director for a $2.7 million National Science Foundation “GK-12” grant that partnered WSUV environmental science graduate students with public school teachers in the Vancouver, Camas, Evergreen, Battle Ground and La Center school districts in SW Washington (see the GK-12 website for more information.  I am now the lead PI for a new National Science Foundation "REU" grant that brings undergraduates from around the region to WSUV to conduct summer research with facutly in the School of the Environment. I also teach science pedagogy courses for graduate students at WSUV, and in the past at UC Berkeley.

Graduate Students

Tammy Lee, PhD Candidate in Environmental and Natural Resoure Sciences

Vanessa Rose, MS Candidate in Environmental Science

Recent Publications

Dexter* E, Bollens S, Rollwagen-Bollens G, Emerson J, Zimmerman J.  (2015) Persistent vs ephemeral invasions: 8.5 years of zooplankton community dynamics in the Columbia River.  Limnology & Oceanography.

Breckenridge J, Bollens S, Rollwagen-Bollens G, Roegner C.  (2015)  Plankton assemblage variability in a river-dominated temperate estuary during late spring (high flow) and late summer (low flow) periods.  Estuaries and Coasts 38: 93-103.

Dresner M, Braun S, Handelman C, Rollwagen-Bollens G.  (2014)  Environmental identity, pro-environmental behaviors and civic engagement of volunteer stewards in Portland area parks.  Environmental Education Research doi: 10.1080/13504622.2014.964188

Lee* T, Rollwagen-Bollens G, Bollens S, Faber-Hammond J.  (2014)  Environmental influences on cyanobacteria abundance and microcystin toxin production in a shallow temperate lake.  Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.05.004

Chang H, ThiersP, Netusil N, Yeakley A, Rollwagen-Bollens G, Bollens S, Singh S.  (2014) Relationships between environmental governance and water quality in a growing metropolitan area of the Pacific Northwest, USA.  Hydrology and Earth Systems Science 18: 1383-1395.  

Rollwagen-Bollens G, Bollens S, Gonzalez A, Zimmerman J, Lee* T, Emerson J.  (2013) Feeding dynamics of the copepod Diacyclops thomasi before, during and following filamentous cyanobacteria blooms in a large, shallow temperate lake.  Hydrobiologia 705: 101-118.

Bollens S, Quenette J, Rollwagen-Bollens G.  (2012)  Predator-enhanced diel vertical migration in a planktonic dinoflagellete.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 447: 49-54.

Friedenberg* L, Bollens S, Rollwagen-Bollens G.  (2012)  Feeding dynamics of larval Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) on natural assemblages of microplankton.  Fisheries Oceanography 21: 95-108.

Bollens S, Breckenridge J, Cordell J, Rollwagen-Bollens G, Kalata O.  (2012)  Invasive copepods in the Lower Columbia River Estuary: Seasonal abundance, co-occurrence and potential competition with native copepods.  Aquatic Invasions 7: 101-109.  doi: 10.3391/ai.2012.7.1.011

Boyer* J, Rollwagen-Bollens G, Bollens S.  (2011)  Microzooplankton grazing before, during and after a cyanobacterial bloom in Vancouver Lake, Washington, USA.  Aquatic Microbial Ecology 64: 163-174.

Rollwagen-Bollens G, Gifford* S, Bollens S.  (2011)  The Role of Protistan Microzooplankton in the Upper San Francisco Estuary Planktonic Food Web:  Source or Sink?  Estuaries & Coasts 34: 1026-1038.

Bollens S, Rollwagen-Bollens G, Quenette J, Bochdansky A.  (2010)  Cascading migrations and implications for vertical fluxes in pelagic ecosystems.  Journal of Plankton Research 33: 349-355.

Bochdansky, A.B., Bollens, S.M., Rollwagen-Bollens, G.C.  (2010)  The effect of microzooplankton and copepods on vertical carbon fluxes in and around phytoplankton thin layers.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 401: 179-196.

Gifford*, S.M., Rollwagen-Bollens, G.C., Bollens, S.M.  (2007)  Mesozooplankton omnivory in the upper San Francisco Estuary.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 348: 33-46

Slaughter, A.M., Bollens, S.M., Rollwagen Bollens, G.C.  (2006)  Grazing impact of mesozooplankton in an upwelling region off northern California, 2000-2003.  Deep-Sea Research II 53: 3099-3115

Rollwagen Bollens, G.C., Bollens, S.M., Penry, D.L.  (2006)  Vertical distribution of micro- and nanoplankton in the San Francisco Estuary, in relation to hydrography and predators.  Aquatic Microbial Ecology 44:143-163

Rollwagen Bollens, G.C. and Penry, D.L.  (2003)  Feeding dynamics of Acartia spp. copepods in a large, temperate estuary (San Francisco Bay, CA).  Marine Ecology Progress Series 257: 139-158

Rollwagen Bollens, G.C. and Landry, M.R.  (2000)  The biological response to iron fertilization in the eastern equatorial Pacific (IronEx II).  II. Mesozooplankton abundance, biomass, depth distribution and grazing.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 201: 43-56.

Coale, K., Johnson, K., Fitzwater, S., Gordon, R., Tanner, S., Chavez, F., Ferioli, L., Sakamoto, C., Rogers, P., Millero, F., Steinberg, P., Nightingale, P., Cooper, D., Cochlan, W., Landry, M., Constantinou, J., Rollwagen, G., Trasvina, A., Kudela, R. (1996) A massive phytoplankton bloom induced by an ecosystem-scale iron fertilization experiment in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  Nature  383:  495-501. 

* Graduate students under my direct supervision.



  • Ph.D. Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
  • M.S. Biological Oceanography, University of Hawaii
  • A.B. Biology, Harvard University