Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


APECS Webinars

Designing your research questions (Part I)
Breck Bowden
Professor of Watershed Science & Planning, University of Vermont and Director, Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center

Good research begins with well-designed research questions. This webinar will focus on the elements of good research questions in the context of a well-written proposal. This is the first part of a two part series looking at designing research questions and methods.

Recorded on 1 March 2011.

This video is part of an online lecture series coordinated by APECS, US NSF ARCSS Thermokarst Project, and the University of Canterbury to help early career polar researchers navigate their careers. For more information on the full series, visit

Presenter: Breck Bowden - Professor of Watershed Science & Planning, University of Vermont and Director, Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center

Breck received his B.Sc. with majors in Zoology and Chemistry from the University of Georgia in 1973. He earned his M.Sc. from North Carolina State University for a project in which he developed a novel method to enumerate bacteria in estuarine water samples, with a scanning electron microscope. He then moved to the newly formed Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (USA) to co-lead an interdisciplinary research project focused on the structure and function of tidal, freshwater wetlands, a little-studied but important wetland type on the east coast of the United States. He earned his Ph.D. in 1982, for his work on nitrogen cycling in this wetland type.

Breck began working on the arctic in 1987 when the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Program began. He is an original member of the Streams research team in the Arctic LTER and now leads that group. He has also lead projects funded by the National Park Service, to develop protocols for monitoring the health of stream river and lake ecosystems in the Arctic Network of parks, which include the Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Noatak National Preserve. Breck is currently the lead-PI on a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary collaborative project to quantify potential effects of climate change on surface processes in the Alaskan arctic. This project is focused on how an increase in the frequency of thermokarst failures could affect important landscape dynamics including trace gas emissions to the atmosphere, soil microbial processes, vegetation community composition, sediment and nutrient loading to streams and lakes, and large-scale geomorphological change.

Breck is currently the Robert and Genevieve Patrick Chair for Watershed Science and Planning in the Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He is the Director for the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center and Director for Theme 1 of the Northeastern States Research Collaborative.

Grant, Proposal & Article Writing
  • Non-specific
Career Development Webinar Series

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