Scott Ensign, Ph.D.

500 500 Stroud Water Research Center

Assistant Director, Vice President

Administration and Finance Department

Research Scientist

tel. 610-268-2153, ext. 223
970 Spencer Road, Avondale, PA 19311

Interests and Expertise

I’m an ecosystem ecologist working to discover how plants, animals, and microbes interact within rivers and how the results of those processes influence how people and society interact with rivers. In collaboration with my colleagues, I make biogeochemical measurements, perform experiments, and interpret results using statistical models and analysis. I’m particularly interested in developing new measurement technologies for aquatic environments, exploring how sea level rise affects rivers, and implementing conservation techniques that improve both ecological conditions and the utility people derive from freshwater ecosystems.

Google Scholar | ResearchGate | CV


  • Ph.D., Ecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • M.S., Ecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • B.A., Environmental Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Director, Stroud Water Research Center, 2018–present.
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Science Department, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, 2013–2018.
  • Founder/CEO, Planktos Instruments, LLC, Morehead City, North Carolina, 2013–2018.
  • Founder/Managing Partner, Aquatic Analysis and Consulting, LLC, Wilmington, North Carolina, 2004–2017.
  • Research Ecologist, National Research Program, United States Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, 2010–2011.
  • Research Technician III, Institute of Marine Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Morehead City, North Carolina, 2004–2005.
  • Research Technician II, Institute of Marine Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, 1997–2002.


New strategies for measuring rates of environmental processes in rivers, lakes, and estuaries

Ensign, S.H., J. Gardner, and M.W. Doyle. 2017. Freshwater Science 36(3):453–465.

Geomorphic implications of particle movement by water surface tension in a salt marsh

Ensign, S.H., and C. Currin. 2017. Wetlands 37(2):245–256.

A method for using shoreline morphology to predict suspended sediment concentration in tidal creeks

Ensign, S.H., C. Currin, M. Piehler, and C. Tobias. 2016. Geomorphology 276:280–288.

Shaping the physical template: biological, hydrological, and geomorphic connections in stream channels

Julian, J.P., C.J.P. Podolak, K.M. Meitzen, M.W. Doyle, R.B. Manners, E.T. Hester, S.H. Ensign, and N.A. Wilgruber. Pages 85–134 in J.B. Jones and E.H. Stanley (editors). Stream Ecosystems in a Changing Environment. Academic Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.