Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Ecology
North Carolina State University
About 0.02% of the water on Earth is found in rivers and lakes, and most of the human population lives in close proximity to these freshwater ecosystems, especially rivers, and rivers and lakes have been gems for ecological and evolutionary studies for centuries. These ecosystems are also sentinels of climate change. Much of the research in my lab uses rivers as a study system to discover the degree to which a few individual species affect 1) phenotypic traits of other species, 2) community interactions, and 3) ecosystem functions, such as carbon flow and nutrient cycling. With respect to climate science, we are studying how climate-induced changes in streamflow phenology affect algal blooms of the diatom Didymosphenia geminata, and how these blooms propagate up food webs to affects fish and fish disease. We also study how climate changes in hydrologic phenology of wetland ponds affect species range shifts/replacements, and how these shifts/replacements affect ecosystem functions. My most interdisciplinary research blends ecological and economic concepts to further our understanding of the proliferation and control of invasive species.