A major focus of our research is the role that biota could play in enhancing water quality both directly, through nutrient uptake and indirectly, by enhancing mixing due to their physical structure. Two examples of this that we are actively investigating are emergent vegetation canopies and freshwater mussel beds. Using controlled flume experiments and field observations we are quantifying spatial gradients in nutrients, organic carbon, turbulence and associated microbial process rates at a vegetated canopy boundary. The findings from this research will answer key questions regarding the role of aquatic vegetation in streams, lakes wetlands and rivers for regulating contaminant removal and could lead to new paradigms in management.