The Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology (CAAE) at NCSU includes ~20 faculty, staff, undergraduate, and graduate students, and is supported by local, state, and federal funding as well as private donors. We interact with eleven departments across four colleges at NCSU, and with about 20 other institutions worldwide. The center has a broad service directive, and also conducts research to assess and identify practical solutions to water quality problems in North Carolina and the nation. Our work spans from freshwaters to estuaries and marine waters – as examples, water quality in North Carolina major drinking water supply reservoirs; long-term trends in nutrient and related pollutant loads to the Neuse River and Estuary and ecosystem response, related to changing land use patterns in the watershed; and the biology of harmful algae and their impacts on finfish and shellfish health. The CAAE was officially functional in July of 2000, and grew out of the research group led by Dr. JoAnn Burkholder within the NCSU Department of Botany, later the Department of Plant Biology, and presently the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. The center is now part of the Department of Applied Ecology (Department Head, Harry Daniels).