A photo of a lake with duckweed next to a lake without duckweed

Tyler Seidel

Research Q & A

How are you working toward that goal?

Aquatic insects spend parts of their lives in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Starting as eggs in the water, aquatic insects grow and develop throughout the water and then metamorphosize by emerging across the water’s surface with wings as adults.

Since duckweed can change water’s physical and chemical environment, how might duckweed impact the growth and development of aquatic insects while they are in the water? What could these growth and developmental impacts mean for spiders that eat these aquatic insects when they are adults in terrestrial environments?

Keystone species are species that have a disproportionate impact on the environments they live in compared to other organisms. For example, the presence or absence of a keystone species can change the environments they inhabit and limit which organism are found.

Could duckweed be a keystone species? Or is this term insufficient?

I’m working in a collection of ponds around the Twin Cities metropolitan region where some ponds have duckweed and other ponds don’t have duckweed. I then learn more about what kinds of aquatic insects live in each type of pond and how they are different from each other. I can use these differences to learn more about how duckweed might not only be a keystone species in aquatic environments, but also terrestrial environments.

How did you get started/what drew you to your area of study?

When I moved into the Twin Cities metropolitan region I had to learn how to navigate and survive in an unfamiliar place. I was accustomed to accessing water and nature in a different way and it was challenging to adjust to at first. I could still find water but often heard people describe its condition and purpose in conflicting ways.

Even though the condition and purpose of the water I found was in conflict, I realized that there is a lot of life in the ponds that I found. Some neighborhoods had ponds that were different from others, and so was the life I found in and around those ponds.

Despite these differences, everything was still surviving. I thought “if they can do it I can too”.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?


There are many timescales: daytime, nighttime, and phases of the moon.

People move differently on biological timescales.

Keep your head up and enjoy the view.

What would be the 5 song soundtrack to your research work/What 5 songs do you listen to most while you work?

  • É Preciso Dar Um Jeito, Meu Amigo by Erasmo Carlos
  • Wede Harer Guzo by Hailu Mergia, Dahlak Band
  • Feel Good by Mohbad
  • Holiday by Calvin Harris, Snoop Dogg, John Legend, Takeoff, Funk Wav
  • Stars in Your Eyes by Herbie Hancock


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