Chatham University

Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) Faculty and Staff

Molly Mehling Ph.D.

Molly Mehling
Assistant Professor of Ecology and Sustainability
Hometown : Toronto, OH (60 miles downstream from Pittsburgh)
Joined Chatham : 2011

Academic Areas of Interest

applied ecology, landscape ecology, community ecology, water resources, ecotoxicology, biogeography of macroinvertebrates, science and risk communication, STEAM, systems thinking, sustainability education, environmental psychology, environmental health, child-environment interactions, scholarship of teaching and learning

Personal Website : Visit Website


Dr. Molly Mehling is an ecologist, sustainability scientist, photographer and educator focused on conducting and communicating science in ways that lead to useful knowledge, but also cause learning, create community, and ultimately lead to more resilient and sustainable social, economic and ecological systems. Her work centers on the condition of our aquatic resources with particular concern for issues that have implications for children’s environmental health.  As a scientist, Dr. Mehling examines spatial patterns of bottom-dwelling aquatic invertebrates at the water’s edge to understand the influence of human activities. Other research has addressed the role of stream productivity on methyl mercury bioaccumulation, the effects of atrazine on stream biota, and the assessment of risk perception of environmental contaminants. By understanding how ecosystems work and how pollutants move through them, we can more effectively reduce human exposure to harmful contaminants. As a photojournalist and science communicator, Dr. Mehling is involved with several activities using or promoting the use of photography for nature appreciation, formal and informal science education, community development and environmental problem solving. Her work is heading in a direction that merges the science of aquatic ecotoxicology with informal science education, photojournalism, art, and public engagement. She hopes to work more directly with communities to assess value and risk perception and to facilitate and evaluate information exchange on issues of water resources and environmental health.







  • Mehling, MG. 6/2013. Seeing ecotoxicology through an environmental health lens: Using Challenge Based Learning to as a course framework for a more connected learning experience. Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences; Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Mehling, MG. 5/2012. Nearshore littoral benthic macroinvertebrate communities of mountain lakes and reservoirs in the western US: Implications for bioassessment and monitoring. Society of Freshwater Science Annual Meeting; Louisville, KY. Presented in session on “Land-Water Interfaces”.
  • Mehling, MG. 2/2011. Nearshore benthic macroinvertebrate communities in mountain lakes of the western US: Multiscale biodiversity assessments for lake monitoring and management. Evergreen State College; Olympia, WA.
  • Pack, J, MG Mehling, and C Badurek. 4/2011. Environmental contaminants and risk perception: Public knowledge, attitudes and policy. American Association of Geographers; Portland, OR.
  • Mehling, MG. 10/2010. Community and spatial ecology of the lake littoral. Ecological Dissertations in the Aquatic Sciences (Eco-DAS) IX - University of Hawai`i, Manoa.
  • Mehling, MG, JT Oris, J Radl, M Tylka, P Stradley and C Nim. 8/2010. Temporal and spatial patterns of nearshore littoral benthic macroinvertebrates: Mountain lake bioassessment and method development. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography/North American Benthological Society; Santa Fe, NM.
  • Raikow, DF, DM Walters, C Hammerschmidt, MG Mehling, A Gevertz and JT Oris. 8/2010. Methyl mercury bioaccumulation across a productivity gradient in streams. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography/North American Benthological Society; Santa Fe, NM.
  • Mehling, MG, A Gevertz, C Hammerschmidt, D Raikow, D Walters, and JT Oris. 2009. Effect of productivity on mercury accumulation and distribution in stream ecosystems (poster). Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; New Orleans, LA.
  • Mehling, MG and JT Oris. 2009. Littoral benthic macroinvertebrates in Sierra Nevada lakes and reservoirs: Patterns of biodiversity, habitat relationships and indications of condition. Ecological Society of America; Albuquerque, NM.