Casey Godwin

Assistant Research Scientist

4840 S.State Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108-9719


Curriculum Vitae
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Dr. Casey Godwin recently joined CIGLR as an Assistant Research Scientist. He has a Ph.D. in ecology, evolution, and behavior from the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on how the elemental requirements of bacteria and algae couple carbon and nutrient cycles in freshwater ecosystems. The driving question behind this work is “as we continue to pollute our aquatic ecosystems with excess nutrients, will cycling of carbon and other elements change in proportion, or will fertilization decouple key ecosystem processes?” He has examined this question in the context of impact of stream algae on nutrient retention within watersheds, functional diversity of freshwater bacteria in response to land use change, and most recently, minimizing the fertilizer demand of renewable fuels produced from algae. As part of CIGLR, he is working on projects including the effects of nutrient abundance and forms on harmful algal blooms and the influence of hypoxia on the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and heavy metals in Lake Erie.

  • Ph.D. 2013, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • M.S. 2006, Ecology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • B.A. 2003, Biology and Environmental Studies, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa
Research Interest/Area of Expertise: 
  • Impacts of nutrient loading on biogeochemical processes in the Great Lakes
  • Role of flexible biomass stoichiometry in coupling productivity and element cycling
  • Physiological adaptations of aquatic microbes to nutrient starvation and surplus
Recent Publications: 

Godwin, C.M., A.R. Lashaway, D.C. Hietala, P.E. Savage and B.J. Cardinale. 2018. Biodiversity improves the ecological design of sustainable biofuel systems. Global Change Biology Bioenergy. (DOI:10.1111/gcbb.12524). [Press Release] [Altmetric Score]

Godwin, C.M. and J.B. Cotner. 2017. What intrinsic and extrinsic factors explain the stoichiometric diversity of aquatic heterotrophic bacteria? ISME Journal. (DOI:10.1038/ismej.2017.195). [Press Release] [Altmetric Score]

Godwin, C.M., D.C. Hietala, A.R. Lashaway, A. Narwani, P.E. Savage and B.J. Cardinale. 2017. Ecological stoichiometry meets ecological engineering: using polycultures to enhance the multifunctionality of algal biocrude systems. Environmental Science and Technology. 51:11450-11458, (DOI:10.1021/acs.est.7b02137). [Altmetric Score]

All Publications

Recent Presentations:

Godwin, C.M., D.C. Hietala, A.R. Lashaway, A. Narwani, P.E. Savage and B.J. Cardinale. 2017. Ecological stoichiometry of algal biocrude production: Polycultures balance tradeoffs in nutrient use efficiency. ESA Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, August 10, 2017.

Godwin, C.M. and J.B. Cotner. 2015. Stoichiometric homeostasis and elemental content of heterotrophic bacteria from lakes: biomass C:P shows dampened interspecific variability under low resource imbalance, but flexibility is prevalent under P-limitation. Conference on Biological Stoichiometry 2105, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, June 24, 2015.

Godwin, C.M. and J.B. Cotner. 2015. Can phylogenetic affiliation or genome sequences explain the biomass stoichiometry and homeostatic regulation of aquatic heterotrophic bacteria? The Royal Society, Theo Murphy Meeting: “Elements, genomes, and ecosystems: cascading nitrogen and phosphorus impacts across levels of biological organization”, Chicheley, U.K., June 1, 2015.

All Presentations

Video Library

Where others see muck, University of Michigan biologists, ecologists and engineers see a potentially renewable source of biofuel in algae. They’re working to reduce engine emissions and shrink carbon footprints by refining an algal diesel fuel that works just as efficiently as its petroleum-based counterpart.


University of Michigan scientists grew various combinations of freshwater algal species in 80 artificial ponds at U-M’s E.S. George Reserve near Pinckney, Michigan in the first large-scale, controlled experiment to test the widely held idea that biodiversity can improve the performance of algal biofuel systems in the field. Learn More:


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