Research Q & A
Where are you working on research/field work?
The field sites that I work in are a collection of small, residential ponds in the Twin Cities metropolitan region.
Why are you focusing your work in that area?
Increasing urbanization promotes opportunities to work with the public on how to manage land and water resources for the benefit of humans and wildlife alike.
How are you working toward that goal?
I’ve been working with the public to learn more about how urban pressures can impact ways that land and water food webs are connected.
What will your next steps/research be?
My next steps will be to record how urban pressures can influence the nutritional value of food web items and alter food web connections across land and water ecosystems.
What would be the five-song soundtrack to your research work/What five songs do you listen to most while you work?
- “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” by Roy Ayers
- “まともがわからない” by 坂本慎太郎
- “Find Yourself” by The Meters
- “What They Do” by The Roots
- “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” by Marvin Gaye
Phosphorus enrichment of small ponds can be relatively high in urban environments because of increased sources of phosphorus inputs, such as yard fertilizers. As a result, surface waters of ponds can support large populations of algae, cyanobacteria, and duckweed. Each of these organisms can physically change aquatic environments and alter food web dynamics for consumers like aquatic insects. Likewise, terrestrial consumers like web-building spiders consume large proportions of aquatic insects so the effects of phosphorus enrichment are not constrained to aquatic environments. My work is interested in recording how aquatic and terrestrial environments depend on and influence each other in urban environments. Here we see me and floating traps that catch aquatic insects in a pond with evidence of increased phosphorus supporting green growth, like algae, cyanobacteria, and duckweed.