We are conducting a snail feeding study in collaboration with Hal Halvorson (Southern Miss), Kevin Kuehn (Southern Miss), and Bob Findlay (UA). This is a follow-up experiment to their fine-scale microbial characterization of leaf litter and priming under different light and nutrient manipulations. The feeding experiment will allow us to connect our fine-scale microbial characterization (especially biomass and carbon flow into different groups) to detrital versus algal contributions to consumer growth. We collected all our snails over the weekend and have the experiment up and running. Several undergraduate students from UA are helping in the effort. Gabi Dickinson, Abby Rankin, Lucas Glisson, and Maya Owens-Freeman have been helpful in making the setup successful! More to come!
Zach Nickerson successfully defended his master's thesis entitled "Influence of native freshwater mussel functional traits and community structure on nitrogen removal in stream sediments" today. His committee was composed of Carla, Behzad Mortazavi, Bob Findlay, and Lisa Davis (UA Geography). He did an excellent job and we look forward to see his future success and the papers to come! Celebrations ensued at Nicks in the Sticks and other undisclosed locations. Congratulations Zach!
Dan Knapp's experiment is about to kickoff to examine how predators impact tissue stoichiometry and excretion of larval anurans over growth and development. He has set his mesocosms up at the Jones Ecological Research Center and was able to collect leopard frog egg masses at a wetland onsite. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Lora Smith at the Jones Center. We are excited about his setup and look forward to seeing the results!
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).
Dr. Carla L. Atkinson
My life is like a float trip!