Brian van Ee received a research grant to fund more of his work examining the thermal preferences of unionid freshwater mussels. To date he has measured respiration, filtration, and excretion rates of five mussel species across a gradient of temperatures. This grant will allow him to expand this work to other species. Congratulations, Brian!
Atkinson traveled to Palau to help teach a course on Invertebrate Conservation with Rebecca Rundell (SUNY-ESF), Jesse Czekanski-Moir (SUNY-ESF), and Anuschka Faucci (Univ. of Hawaii - Manoa). Students were from SUNY-ESF and Syracuse University. Atkinson taught the students about general aquatic ecology with a focus on the invertebrate communities, which are decapod dominated (!), of these island streams. Rundell and Czekanski-Moir focused on terrestrial ecology and invertebrates (snails and ants!) while Faucci's shifted the students' attention to the marine realm. It was a great experience and we hope to include UA students the next time!
The Atkinson lab went to the Society for Freshwater meeting in Detroit. Carla, Brian, and Zach all gave oral presentations at the meeting and Monica gave a poster presentation. You can find their abstracts here. We also had a great time catching up with the Caryn Vaughn, Dan Allen, and Jeff Wesner labs over dinner.
Our new paper is out in the journal Sustainability on @PECS_Project (www.pecswaterses.com), WaterSES, where we examine key sustainability challenges for social-ecological systems dealing with water scarcity and water governance. This is in collaboration with several other researchers that span various research expertise such as law, social science, ecology, and geography (http://pecswaterses.com/team).
A manuscript in early view (SEE IT HERE) in the journal Oecologia highlighting the importance of algal-based (autochthonous) resources to stream insects in high elevation tropical streams using stable isotopic analysis in conjunction with Bayesian mixing models. These results also suggest that aquatic invertebrates may be using resources based on both availability and the quality (as indicated by N:P) of the resources which both change as a function of elevation in these streams. These results are relevant to understanding how resource availability and food web structure may be altered in response to climate change.
With the end of the semester approaching we needed to blow some steam off and knock down some pins! The Atkinson and Cherry lab got together for some bowling and pizza. This led to some new interactions, friends, and hopefully future collaborations among members of each lab.
Abby took first place for the College of Arts & Sciences Natural Sciences division at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference for her poster "Nutrient Limitation and the Effects of Mussel Abundance on Primary Productivity in the Sipsey River". She was recognized at a lunch at Bryant Denny stadium yesterday. Nice work Abby!
We spent the last several days down at the Jones Center. Carla and Dan are working together to validate eDNA sampling in Geographically Isolated Wetlands (GIWs) in the southern Gulf Coastal Plain. Carla spent her time collecting and filtering water while Dan and Lora Smith (J.W. Jones Ecological Research Center) helped with quantitative amphibian sampling. We noted several species while we were out. We look forward to working with the Kocot lab to ran our samples and compare to our field data!
Things were quite busy in the Atkinson lab last week! Both Abby Rankin and Lucas Glisson gave posters on their projects in the lab at the Undergraduate Creative and Research Activity Conference on the University of Alabama campus. Also, Zach Nickerson (MS student) and Brian van Ee (PhD student) gave posters at the University of Alabama Water Policy Summit. Last, but not least, Zach Nickerson presented some of his master's research findings in the Biology Department seminar in North Lawn Hall. Good job everyone!
Dr. Carla L. Atkinson
My life is like a float trip!