Limnology – the study of inland waters, including lakes, streams, and wetlands.
I am broadly interested in many questions of ecology, evolution, reciprocal dynamics of ecology and evolution, as well as biological invasions. To address these questions, I have used zooplankton (such as Daphnia pulicaria) for most of my research.
2011 – Present: Daphnia Life-History Evolution
Addressing questions of resource-use efficiency and reproductive strategies in Daphnia pulicaria. I am focusing my research on resource acquisition and allocation strategies, competitive abilities, fitness, allocation to dormancy/sexual reproduction, and how all of these factors influence seasonal and or spatial population dynamics. Almost all of the research is done by collecting unique individuals from the field and then running laboratory assays at the U of I.
2009 – Present: Biological Invasions in Freshwater Systems
I am broadly interested in how a non-native species can arrive at a novel habitat, establish a population, and subsequently change the fundamental nature of the new environment. My current interest is in Daphnia lumholtzi, an aquatic microcrustacean native to Africa, Asia, and Australia, that invaded the United States in the 1980s.
Between 2009 and 2011 I was a research assistant for the De Stasio lab at Lawrence University, working on an invasive species management project. We were determining a baseline of species abundance and distribution prior to the opening of the Fox River navigational Locks between Lake Michigan and Lake Winnebago. This project is ongoing and current researchers are working on determining change after the opening of the locks.
2010 – 2011: Water Quality
Working with a 40-year joint USGS/WIDNR/contractor dataset, I assessed the biological, chemical, and physical water quality of the Lower Fox River. The dataset predated the Clean Water Act and the implementation of the TMDL and allowed us to track changes in water quality through time.