Tenure-Track Faculty

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Ishi D Buffam

Title: Assistant Professor
Office: 731H Rieveschl Hall
Tel: 513-556-9745
Email: ishi.buffam@uc.edu


  • Ph.D., Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 2007.
  • M.S., University of Virginia, 1999.
  • B.S., Haverford College, 1994.


Research Areas: Aquatic Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology; Hydrology and biogeochemical cycling; Urban aquatic ecosystems; Environmental Change and Biological Resilience (ECBR).

My current research projects involve a range of topics which I find interesting and compelling: climate change and freshwater ecosystem carbon cycling, biogeochemistry of urban aquatic ecosystems, and ecosystem services provided by urban green spaces. I supervise both graduate and undergraduate students here at the University of Cincinnati, and these students are currently pursuing projects mainly related to nutrient runoff and water quality in urban areas. Many of my current projects are centered around quantifying ecosystem services and potential disservices associated with green (vegetated) roofs. Green roofs are known to intercept and reduce runoff during rain events, to reduce the urban heat island effect, and to function as good insulators thus saving heating/cooling energy. But, little is known about the direct biogeochemical functions of green roofs, for example: What capacity do green roofs have for nutrient sequestration during rain events? For greenhouse gas sequestration? Or, do they function as a source of nutrients and greenhouse gases, and if so – how can they be designed to minimize these dis-services? And, what are the key climate, geophysical, and biological factors that control nutrient cycling in these novel urban ecosystems?

Courses Taught

  • Ecosystem Ecology
  • Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies: Water
  • Graduate Seminar in Physical Geography: Watershed Biogeochemistry
  • Aquatic Biology/ Aquatic Biology Lab

Selected Publications

  • Buffam, I. and M.E. Mitchell. 2015. Nutrient cycling in green roof ecosystems. Chapter 5 in R. Sutton, ed. Green Roof Ecosystems, Springer, New York.
  • Agren, A.M., I. Buffam, D.M. Cooper, T. Tiwari, C.D. Evans, and H. Laudon. 2014. Can the heterogeneity in stream dissolved organic carbon be explained by contributing landscape elements? Biogeosciences 11: 1199-1213, doi:10.5194/bg-11-1199-2014.
  • Hanson, P.C., I. Buffam , J. Rusak, E.H. Stanley, and C. Watras. 2014. Quantifying lake allochthonous organic carbon budgets using a simple equilibrium model. Limnology & Oceanography 59(1): 167–181, doi:10.4319/lo.2014.59.01.0167.
  • Buffam, I., M.G. Turner, A.R. Desai, P.C. Hanson, J.A. Rusak, N.R. Lottig, E.H. Stanley and S.R. Carpenter. 2011. Integrating aquatic and terrestrial components to construct a complete carbon budget for a north temperate lake district. Global Change Biology 17: 1193-1211. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02313.x.
  • Buffam, I., S. R. Carpenter, W. Yeck, P. C. Hanson, and M. G. Turner. 2010. Filling holes in regional carbon budgets: predicting peat depth in a north-temperate lake district. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 115: G01005, doi:10.1029/2009JG001034.

Awards and Honors

  • Earth Day Environmental Teacher Award, 2016 to 2016. Annual Teaching Award from the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition, awarded to an educator in the Cincinnati region, sponsored by the Nature Conservancy.
  • Geospatial Information and Environmental Sensor Networks (GIESN) Excellence in Faculty Research Award, University of Cincinnati, 2012 to 2012.