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.


Head-of-tide bottleneck of particulate material transport from watersheds to estuaries

Ensign, S.H., G.B. Noe, C.R. Hupp, and K.J. Skalak. 2015. Geophysical Research Letters 42(24):10,671–10,679.

Comparison of denitrification between river channels and their adjoining tidal freshwater wetlands

Von Korff, B.H., M.F. Piehler, and S.H. Ensign. 2014. Wetlands 34(6):1047–1060.

Sediment accretion in tidal freshwater forests and oligohaline marshes of the Waccamaw and Savannah Rivers, USA

Ensign, S.H., C.R. Hupp, G.B. Noe, K.W. Krauss, and C.L. Stagg. 2014. Estuaries and Coasts 37:1107–1119.

Linking channel hydrology with riparian wetland accretion in tidal rivers

Ensign, S.H., G.B. Noe, and C.R. Hupp. 2013. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface 119(1):28–44.