Statement of purpose:
I am a graduate student working in the department of Applied Ecology under Dr. Brad Taylor. While I have always had an affinity for wildlife and the outdoors, my passion for aquatic ecology was inspired by a relocation to the beautiful pacific northwest. Here, I became fascinated by the species around me in the lake and river ecosystems of my new backyard and spent much of my college career focused on understanding them. After graduating with my bachelors, I had the opportunity to work as a field technician in a remote part of Alaska where I worked and lived closely with native Alaskans and studied the awe inspiring pacific salmon runs of the North Pacific. Firsthand experience in the nuances of managing ecosystems in the face of a changing climate inspired me to pursue research to better understand how climate change may be effecting aquatic systems and fishery resources across the world. Experiencing traditional knowledge of indigenous populations provided a perspective on ecosystems and their services that I had never yet considered. However, Alaska also provided me with a stark view of the imminent and present consequences of climate change on populations that rely on them for survival. I left those experiences with additional sense of urgency to understanding how these resources can be preserved and managed as we cope with a climate that continues to rapidly change.
Description of research:
My research is focused on understanding how climate induced shifts in meltwater are impacting the distribution, growth, and abundance of trout species in the Rocky Mountains. I will be working at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte, Colorado to understand how changes in the amount and timing of peak flow may impact availability of downstream resources that are vital to the health of fish species in the system. Rapid shifts in the amount and timing of meltwater contributions to alpine streams may cause subsequent changes in the aquatic invertebrate community which could impact availability to trout species for growth and development and may cause shifts in the size or distribution structure of the ecosystem as a whole.
Dr. Brad Taylor (Department of Applied Ecology, NCSU)