Dr. Jamie Lau


Assistant Professor
Office: 177 Center for the Sciences
Lab: 168 Center for the Sciences
Box 6931, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142-6939, U.S.A.
Tel: none
E-mail: jlau@radford.edu 



Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 131 – Ecology and Adaptation
  • BIOL 181 – Writing a SURF Proposal
  • BIOL 333 – Population and Community Ecology
  • BIOL 392 – Environmental Toxicology
  • BIOL 460 – Advanced Senior Seminar
  • BIOL 481 – Special Topics - Scientific Writing
  • BIOL 493 – Apprenticeship in Teaching

Planned courses:

  • BIOL 462 - Invertebrate Zoology


I am an interdisciplinary stream ecologist, who collaborates with Drs. Tara Pelletier (a geneticist in our department) and Kristina Stefaniak (a chemist in the Department of Chemistry) to capture the complexity of our local streams – from the physical features of the stream bed, to the ever changing water chemistry, to the biodiversity, to the riparian area that surrounds the stream channel. We are also in the beginning stages of mapping the groundwater aquifers along our stream’s sites with Dr. Rhett Herman (in the Department of Physics) and mapping our sites using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with the department of Geospatial Sciences.

I specifically focus on three broad areas of freshwater ecology. First, I established a local freshwater stream monitoring program. Students in my lab gain a wide-variety of field experiences by collecting water chemistry, physical habitat, and aquatic insects (and very soon fishes) at our sites. Since the Summer of 2018, our team has collected nearly 16,000 pieces of data for students to investigate and design research questions that answer what happens over time and across geographic space.

Second, students in my lab have the opportunity to determine stream health according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality or Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for non-tidal streams. Students can determine whether or not streams are healthy. Do they support aquatic life or not? If the chemistry meets the water quality standards, then why do the “bugs” suggest otherwise?

Finally, students with their own interests and ideas regarding stream ecology are also welcome to develop and complete research projects in my lab. Ecology covers a range of topics including (but not limited to) community interactions, trophic relationships, energy dynamics, or ecosystem processes, all of which can be studied in local streams. OR if a student loves a particular aquatic insect or a particular stream then they could conduct a life history study on their favorite insect or conduct a case study on their favorite stream.

My recent, new adventure is with Dr. Sarah Foltz. We are studying the insect and bird diversity in graveyards across a gradient of urbanization in Southern Appalachia. I am looking for students who are especially interested in entomology (e.g., insect identification and taxonomy)!

If you are a student who is excited about any of the research areas presented above, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. If you want to know even more, visit my website at https://jamie-k-lau.weebly.com.