Ryan Woodland

Associate Professor
Ryan Woodland
Associate Professor
Chesapeake Biological Laboratory


Dr. Woodland is an ecologist whose research focuses on trophic interactions in coastal food webs and how environmental factors (often human-induced) influence species communities and their dynamics in coastal ecosystems. The core themes of Dr. Woodland’s research touch upon several broad areas of food web ecology, but they all inform our understanding of the processes that support the incredible productivity of estuaries and coastal marine ecosystems. Areas of research that are of particular interest to him include: 1) the effects of human activities on estuarine food webs and community structure, 2) those trophic characteristics that define species’ niche space (e.g., trophic position, forage base, ontogenetic shifts) and the interchangeability (or lack thereof) of species as functional equivalents in coastal food webs, 3) the processes that drive observed spatial and temporal patterns in trophic relationships and food web structure and function, and 4) the continued development of techniques for applying natural abundance stable isotopes as tools in ecology. Many of Dr. Woodland’s research projects are regionally focused on Chesapeake Bay and the larger Mid-Atlantic region, but the processes underlying these local patterns can inform our understanding of conditions in other ecosystems.

Prior to coming to CBL, Dr. Woodland held postdoctoral fellowships in Canada (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières) and Australia (Monash University, Victoria), and he maintains active collaborations with researchers from both countries. In addition to teaching and mentoring graduate students at CBL, he is engaged in supporting the professional development of undergraduate students pursuing careers in STEM fields through formal and informal internships. Dr. Woodland received his undergraduate degree in Marine Safety & Environmental Protection from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and his Masters and PhD in Fisheries Science from the University of Maryland.

Areas of Expertise

  • Trophic ecology
  • Fish ecology
  • Stable isotopes
  • Estuaries


  • University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, MA

Regularly Offered Courses

Graduate Program Foundation Areas