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.
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.