Tom Bansak

Tom Bansak

Associate Director

Tom Bansak

Phone: (406) 872-4503

Tom Bansak is a freshwater ecologist who came to the Flathead Lake Biological as a graduate student in 1996 and presently serves as the FLBS Assistant Director. Along the way, Tom has been a research scientist, research coordinator, educator, education/outreach coordinator and development coordinator.


From the research end of things, Tom has a wide range of experience on rivers and lakes around the West.

- He completed his Masters on the Nyack floodplain of the Middle Fork Flathead River looking at the ecological effects of surface-groundwater interactions on the biological community, especially algae.

- In the 2000s, Tom coordinated a large international salmon project, running field operations on large, pristine rivers in Northern British Columbia and Southeast Alaska.

- Tom has worked extensively on water quality - examining, identifying and helping to mitigate sources of pollution in Flathead Lake and its watershed.

- Since 2009, Tom has represented that Bio Station in our efforts to understand, communicate and prevent the deleterious effects of Aquatic Invasive Species.

- Tom also helped to design, construct and maintain networks of environmental sensors around Flathead Lake (LakeNET) and on the Middle Fork Flathead (RiverNET).

 Tom working on Flathead Lake buoy

Regarding education, Tom enjoys engaging a wide range of audiences to communicate how interesting and incredible our aquatic ecosystems are, especially in Western Montana.

- Tom has taught and helps to administer our Bio Station summer session of field ecology classes.

- Tom periodically teaches a Freshwater Ecology course for UM’s Lifelong Learning Institute (MOLLI).

- Tom visits, hosts and gives presentations to numerous K-12 and university school groups.

- Tom regularly gives presentations to professional and service groups such as Chambers of Commerce and Rotary.

- Tom has taught field ecology and natural history courses for other organizations including the Glacier Institute and Wild Rockies Field Institute.


Personally, Tom spends a lot of time outside with his family. They live at the base of the Swan Mountains near Bigfork, hiking and paddling rivers (especially the Swan) much of the year, skiing and shoveling snow for the rest of it.


M.S. 1998. Aquatic Ecology. Flathead Lake Biological Station, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
B.A. 1994. Environmental and Evolutionary Biology. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
H.S. 1990. Groton School, Groton, MA