Areas of Expertise
- Aquatic Ecology
- M.S. The Ohio State University
- B.S. Science of Natural and Environmental Systems Cornell University
I am interested in the effects of climate change and nutrient pollution on freshwater ecosystems, and how these global stressors combine to influence communities, food webs, energy flow, and nutrient cycles. My dissertation examines changes in the Lake Erie ecosystem, which has experienced unprecedented harmful algal blooms (HABs) in recent years due to increased nutrient runoff. I am particularly interested in interactions between HABs and zooplankton, as zooplankton are an important link between primary producers (phytoplankton) and higher-level consumers (fish). Therefore, changes in zooplankton community composition and productivity may have large implications for energy and nutrient dynamics in Lake Erie. I'm also interested in feedbacks between zooplankton and HABs, particularly in the role of zooplankton-mediated nutrient recycling in contributing to HAB growth.
To investigate these questions, I am utilizing data from a long-term monitoring effort (Lake Erie Plankton Abundance Survey- LEPAS) to understand how zooplankton productivity has changed over time, and identify the bottom-up and top-down factors that may be driving these changes. I am also collecting zooplankton samples throughout the ice-free season on Lake Erie and measuring zooplankton-mediated nutrient recycling to understand the contribution of zooplankton nutrient release toward HAB dynamics.
My Master's work examined how climate change and nutrient availability influenced stream ecosystems in Iceland. For more information on the project, feel free to check out our blog.
Advisor: Dr. James Hood