Summer Happenings at the Strecker Lab

From field work, to publications, to new research horizons, exciting things are happening at the Strecker Lab this summer.

First and foremost, PhD candidate Tim Elder had a chapter of his dissertation published just a few days ago. His research investigates salmon survival, and this chapter looks specifically at which variables affect a young salmon’s ability to survive a trip past multiple dams in the Columbia River. Check out the paper in Ecology and Evolution. Congrats, Tim!

We’ve also got lots of exciting field work happening this summer. Our newest PhD student, Crysta Gantz, is starting up her research by collecting sediment cores in Eastern Washington. She’ll be sifting through these cores to find Daphnia resting eggs, which she’ll use to help understand how changes in waterbody connectivity may affect the population structure and gene flow of these cladoceran zooplankton.

Master’s student Brian McGann is continuing his sample collection in Eastern Washington lakes, in an effort to understand how rotenone treatment affects zooplankton communities. For those who don’t know, rotenone is a piscicide – or fish-killer – derived from a chemical found in the roots of the Derris plant (native to SE Asia). Rotenone is used to remove unwanted/non-native fish species from water bodies, but it’s effect on other lake organisms, like zooplankton, is not well documented.

PhD student Ari Chiapella is spending time at Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks. She’s surveying visitors to see how much they know about mountain lake ecology, and to get their input on whether or not fish should be removed from mountain lakes. Another goal of the survey is to determine how many people eat fish from mountain lakes, to see if we should be worried about visitors consuming fish from these waterbodies (since mercury levels are often bordering – and sometimes higher than – EPA thresholds).

Incoming Post-doctoral student Meredith Holgerson has been poking around potential field sites along the Chehalis River in Washington this summer. Starting this fall, she’ll be partnering with researchers at the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Geological Survey in an effort to identify how to optimize the ecological success of floodplain restoration projects.

Lastly, master’s student Meredith Jordan will be defending her thesis on August 11th. Meredith conducted tank experiments to determine how nutrient additions and warming temperatures affect mercury concentrations in zooplankton. Congrats, Meredith!

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