Joseph M. Balczon 

Associate Professor and Chair

Department of Biology 

Westminster College 

New Wilmington, PA  16172

Phone: (724) 946-7215 

Fax:    (724) 946-7791



Research Interests


Selected Publications

Personal Interests

Favorite Links





Ph.D. Ecology - The Pennsylvania State University - May 1995.

M.S. Ecology - The Pennsylvania State University - May, 1991

B.S. Biology - The Pennsylvania State University at Erie, The Behrend College - 1987.



I am interested in all aspects of ecology, however, my research interests lie primarily in microbial ecology. I have experience working with microbial communities from both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, although the bulk of my work involves aquatic microbial communities. I am interested in the effects of microbes on the structure and function of the ecosystems in which they are found. I have utilized a variety of experimental techniques to investigate the importance of microbes in ecosystems, including manipulating densities of specific guilds of microbes in artificial communities and by altering the physical environments of microbes by introducing toxic stressors. My most recent work has focused on feeding effects.  Specifically, I want to know how ciliated protozoa may affect the structure of benthic algal communities, and how zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) feeding activity affects the structure and function of benthic microbial communities.

Also, I am involved in a long-term assessment study of a local stream, the Little Neshannock Creek.  I am monitoring the stream for coliform bacterial denisities and for macroinvertebrate richness and abundance.  The stream receives agricultural and municipal wastewater inputs, and soon will receive groundwater contributions from septic systems that will be associated with a new 80 dwelling housing development. 


Community Ecology 


Plant Science


Biology of Populations and Communities 

Pollutant Effects on Aquatic Ecosystems 

Ecosystem Management

Environmental Problem Solving 

Problem Analysis in Environmental Science 

Foundations of Biology I and II

1. Bissell, J.K., J.M. Balczon, E.C. Masteller. 1989. A survey of the macrophytes of Lake Pleasant, Erie County. J. PA Acad. Sci., 63:3-6.
2. Balczon, J.M., and J.R. Pratt. 1991. Substrate-associated microbiota. Research Journal of the Water Pollution Control Federation, 63:726-733.

3. Pratt, J.R., and J.M. Balczon. 1992. Biomonitoring using protozoans. In Lee, J.J., and A.T. Soldo (eds.), Protocols in Protozoology. Soc. of Protozool. pp. B-12.1 - B- 12.5.

4. Pratt, J.R., N.J. Bowers, and J.M. Balczon. 1993. A microcosm using naturally-derived microbial communities: Comparative ecotoxicology. In Landis, W.G., J.S. Hughes, and M.A. Lewis (eds), Environmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment, ASTM STP 1179, American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, PA, pp. 178-191.

5. Melendez, A.L., R.L. Kepner, Jr., J.M. Balczon, and J.R. Pratt. 1993. Effects of diquat on freshwater microbial communities. Arch. Env. Contam.Toxicol. 25: 95-101.

6. Balczon, J.M., and J.R. Pratt. 1994. A comparison of the responses of two microcosm designs to a toxic input of copper. Hydrobiologia 281: 101-114.

7. Balczon, J.M., and J.R. Pratt. 1995. A comparison of methods for estimating short-term feeding rates of algivorous ciliated protozoa. Arch. Protistenkd. 146: 49-58.

8. Balczon, J.M., and J.R. Pratt. 1996. The functional responses of two algivorous ciliated protozoa with differing feeding strategies. Microbial Ecology 31:209-224.
9. Balczon, J.M., and J.R. Pratt. In Press. The potential production of two benthic algivorous ciliated protozoa. J. North American Benthological Society.

10. Pratt, J.R., N.J. Bowers, J.M. Balczon, W.H. van der Schalie, T. Shedd, and J. Madson. In Prep. Comparative effects of copper on microcosms developed from different ecosystems. Toxicity Assessment.

11. Balczon, J.M., and J.R. Pratt. In Prep. The protozoa of ponds from Presque Isle State Park, PA. J. PA Acad. of Science.

12. Hale, E.A., J.M. Balczon, J.R. Stauffer, and J.R. Pratt. In Prep. Patterns of biodiversity across taxonomic groups in streams of the Upper Allegheny River drainage. Hydrobiologia.


Personal Interests

Favorite links:

  e-mail Joe


Research Interests


Selected Publications

Personal Interests

Favorite Links