Species Invasions

Predicting Outcomes for Invasive Species Removal on Palmyra Atoll

Invasive species are a pervasive agent of human change. On islands, invasive species can be eradicated. However, eradications interact with a suite of anthropogenic changes (other invasive species, human habitat alteration, etc.) and can lead to entirely new alternative ecosystems. The project assesses the trophic roles of species slated for eradication, and predicting the ecological outcome of removal. I consider the context dependence of these outcomes, including whether invasive species interact with each other and other human changes, when predicting whether eradications will lead to restoration success.

Ph.D. Candidate
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Global Change Ecology, Food-web Ecology

Invasive Species Removal Effect on Carbon and Biomass Dynamics on Palmyra Atoll

Conservation actions such as eradications often lead to fundamental changes in the properties and functions of ecosystems. One of the most commonly-reported post-eradication responses on islands is the recovery of nesting seabirds and the nutrients they provide to island ecosystems.

While this is a common eradication outcome, many other ecosystem responses are likely to occur as the species remaining in an ecosystem adjust to the loss of invasive species. This project studies the carbon and biomass dynamics of forests on Palmyra Atoll, and show that carbon and biomass production and storage has substantially increased following the eradication of black rats (Rattus rattus) from the atoll in 2011.

Ph.D. Candidate
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Global Change Ecology, Food-web Ecology

Trout Introduction on Lakeshore Pollination Services in the Eastern Sierras

Pollination services are responsible for plant reproduction and all the species and communities that rely on plant byproducts. In recent decades, both the role of pollinators and their threatened status have increased in recognition. Some of these issues stem from farming practices, habitat degradation, and species loss and introduction. In lake systems, introduced trout consume both pollinators and pollinator predators that have aquatic life stages. Moreover, these predators reduce the flow of nutrients to terrestrial plants via mass emerging insects, such as mayflies—thus, potentially reducing floral quality. In combination, these bottom-up and top-down forces may reduce pollination services. Researchers in the Young Lab are trying to understand what the overall effects of this introduced predator are on pollination services and plant communities in the nearshore habitats of alpine lakes.

Ph.D. Student
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Freshwater Ecology

Effects of Introduced Predators on Nutrient and Energy Cycling in the High Sierra.

Alpine lakes in California experience many stressors. For example, 100 years of trout stocking has altered aquatic insect populations in many lakes –resulting in diet shifts of terrestrial predators, depleted zooplankton grazers, loss of sensitive amphibians, and increased phytoplankton blooms. Lakes already impacted by introduced predators may then also be more vulnerable to the effects of our rapidly changing climate, with less ability to buffer increased temperatures and atmospheric deposition of nutrients. Young Lab research uses the natural laboratory of the eastern Sierra to understand how these interacting stressors affect ecosystem structure and function, looking at novel algal blooms, mosquito populations, and cross-habitat nutrient subsidies.

Ph.D. Student
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Freshwater Ecology