Ecosystem Linkages And Above Ground-Below Ground Food Webs

The project I am finishingup as aresearch fellow at UW examines how resource subsidies can influence soil ecosystem structure and function in a subarctic biome. At Lake Mývatn, Iceland, numerous midges emerge in the summer and flyover adjacent terrestrial ecosystems where they create dense mating swarms. Mated females return to the lake to lay eggs, but the males stay behind and perish in the terrestrial landscape. I investigate how these insect subsidies can change the composition of plant and insect communities, as well as nutrient cycling. Preliminary findings show that the addition of insect carcasses to heathland soils can significantly increase litter decomposition rates and shift plant composition towards grass species. I also found that arthropod predators respond the strongest to midge additions. This project was funded by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (Awarded to Dr. Matthew A. McCary, Award #1611638).

 

PUBLICATIONS:

Hoekman, D., M.A. McCary, J. Dryer, and C. Gratton. 2019. Reducing allochthonous resources in a subarctic grassland alters arthropod food webs via predator diet and density. Ecosphere 10: e02593.

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