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 trait diversity in explaining ecosystem functions in environments that vary across multiple time scales.

Current research areas include:

Life history trait diversity in changing environments 

Across and within species, diverse life history traits centrally shape how organisms react to a changing environment. I have long been interested in this topic, and 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).

Currently, I pursue these questions with focus on a culturally-important subsistence fish species. Since summer 2017, I have worked alongside multiple collaborators at the Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board, in Arctic communities, and at other universities (especially Dr. Emma Hodgson, Simon Fraser University) on a community-based project on on Łuk digaii (Broad Whitefish, Coregonus nasus) in the lower Mackenzie River. Active research questions include describing migratory diversity and habitat use, the role of life history diversity in contaminant exposure, and population response to a rapidly-changing watershed. For more information, visit the project website here.

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Spring phenology and 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 current projects looks at the implications of novel ice-free winters on zooplankton communities, and the sensitivities of different zooplankton assemblages to spring ice breakup phenology.

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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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