In this experiment, we investigate how climate change and water abstraction alter aquatic insect food webs of Sierra Nevada headwaters near Yosemite. Future Sierra Nevada snowmelt is predicted to occur up to two months earlier in the year, which may result in lower summer flows, shifts in insect emergence timing, and changes in community structure. We used artificial stream channels at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL) to measure primary production, secondary production, emergence, diet, abiotic conditions, community composition, and phenology in streams that returned to low flow at different times. This experiment will improve our understanding of how climate change and human water demands may alter stream communities and food webs.
The URAP student will assist in sorting and identifying macroinvertebrates most weeks of the semester. This will require availability of 6-8 hours per week, but there are exceptions for job interviews, multiple tests in the same week, and sickness. The student will be trained in identifying and sorting aquatic insects at the beginning of the semester and become more independent over time. Student goals in knowledge, skills, and personal development will be discussed and the mentor will help the student meet these semester goals. We welcome undergraduates to join Freshwater Lab meetings and learn more about freshwater Berkeley research and graduate school if they desire. The student will also have the opportunity to continue working on the project and pursue his or her own research question in the future, provided their work is satisfactory. Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Kyle Leathers, Graduate Student
No prior experience is required. The URAP student should be excited to learn about freshwater ecology and collaborate with our lab team. Skills or coursework in aquatic ecology, entomology, microscope identification of samples, or research experience should be mentioned in the application. The student should be confident that they can work 6-8 hours per week for most weeks in the semester. The exact times they work are flexible and can fit their schedule for the most part. The student should be physically capable of using a microscope, although difficulties can be discussed with the supervisor.