Scott Ensign, Ph.D.

500 500 Stroud Water Research Center
Scott Ensign, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Vice President

Administration and Finance Department

Research Scientist

tel. 610-910-0041
970 Spencer Road, Avondale, PA 19311

ORCID | Google Scholar | ResearchGate | CV

Interests and Expertise

Scott Ensign is 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 his colleagues, he makes biogeochemical measurements, performs experiments, and interprets results using statistical models and analysis. Ensign is particularly interested in developing new measurement technologies for aquatic environments, exploring how sea level rise affects rivers, and implementing conservation techniques that improve ecological conditions and the utility people derive from freshwater ecosystems.


  • 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.


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.

Hydrologic and biogeochemical controls of denitrification in tidal freshwater wetlands

Ensign, S.H., K. Siporin, M.F. Piehler, M.W. Doyle, and L. Leonard. 2012. Estuaries and Coasts 36(3):519–532.

The effect of tide on the hydrology and morphology of a freshwater river

Ensign, S.H., M.W. Doyle, and M.F. Piehler. 2013. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 38(6):655–660.

A meeting of the waters: interdisciplinary challenges and opportunities in tidal rivers

Ensign, S.H., G. Noe, C.R. Hupp, and S. Fagherazzi. 2012. Eos 93(45):455–456.

Tidal geomorphology affects phytoplankton at the transition from forested streams to tidal rivers

Ensign, S.H., M.W. Doyle, and M.F. Piehler. 2012. Freshwater Biology 57(10):2141–2155.