Research

Broadly, my research identifies patterns and mechanisms of diversity among and within species, life history strategies, and landscapes. In particular, I am interested in the role of this diversity in explaining ecosystem functions in environments that vary across multiple time scales.

Current research areas include:

The roles of life history trait diversity

Dr. Emma Hodgson (Simon Fraser University) and I are leading a project on Łuk digaii (Broad Whitefish, Coregonus nasus) migration and demographic diversity in the Mackenzie River watershed, NWT, Canada. This community-based project collaborates with Gwich’in harvesters and local resource boards to collect data on this culturally important species, describe whitefish habitat use in the rapidly warming lower Mackenzie Delta, and investigate implications for this species in the future. Visit the project website here.

Past work on trait diversity has included how variable or changing environments interact with juvenile salmon migration phenology, breeding phenology in threespine sticklebacks, and fish physiology (thermal tolerances and body stoichiometry).

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Biological community response to long-term warming

Large, northern latitude lakes are experiencing warming temperatures and an extension of the growing season. This has implications for multiple lake processes and for taxa across trophic levels. Past work has examined the role of fine-scale habitat diversity in mediating how fish communities respond to climate warming, and a current project looks at the implications of novel ice-free winters on zooplankton communities.

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The flow of energy in aquatic food webs

The organization and productivity of aquatic food webs are shaped by the source and type of carbon and nutrients entering the aquatic systems. A new project on small, high-elevation Maine lakes is using landscape and water chemistry features to describe zooplankton communities (with Dr Julia Daly, UMaine-Farmington, and Dr Sarah Nelson, UMaine-Orono). Additional components of this project identify the contributions of terrestrial sources to the base of the food web and the role of fish introductions on community structure.

Past or in-review projects with other collaborators have looked at links between lake metabolism and carbon source across lake types, and the use of hierarchical models to examine carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes in food webs.

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