Jared Balik

Global Change Fellow Alumnus | Department of Applied Ecology | North Carolina State University

Spring 2018 Global Change Fellow

Statement of purpose:

I am a second year PhD student working with Dr. Brad Taylor in the Department of Applied Ecology. My research focuses on understanding how climate-driven changes in river hydrology impact nutrient biogeochemistry and algal primary productivity in montane rivers. I am interested in understanding how climate change impacts ecosystem function, and in communicating those impacts to the public.

Description of research:

My research explores how climate-induced changes in the phenology of hydrologic events (e.g., the timing of springtime peak flows and duration of baseflow) can affect the nutrient dynamics and productivity of montane streams – two properties that are important for provisioning ecosystem services related to downstream water quality, the production of salmonids for recreational fishing, and visual aesthetics. I am approaching these questions observationally and experimentally. Last summer I surveyed water chemistry and biofilm stoichiometry (elemental content and resource quality) throughout the summer in 12 rivers that vary in the timing of their peak-flow hydrology. I also experimentally tested how climate-driven changes in three abiotic factors (warming rate, nutrient and light availability) influence the accrual and stoichiometry of stream biofilms. Together, these data are allowing me to determine the relative importance of changing climactic and hydrologic factors on the spring-summer progression of nutrient dynamics in headwater montane streams and the development of their biofilm communities. My research falls under both Science Theme 3: ‘Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources’ and Science Theme 4: ‘Ecological Research and Modeling’ of the SE CSC strategic science plan.