Photo: T.L. Kennedy

Research Interests

As an undergraduate, I held an REU position in an aquatic ecology lab. Our work was centered around semi-arid rivers that experience partial to total dry-down on a regular basis. We were interested in how food web dynamics are altered across space and time as these events occur.

As a graduate student, I expanded on this initial interest in ecology. For my Masters, I conducted a study on young-of-year fishes and invertebrate communities in a mesocosm experiment that was originally part of the above-mentioned food web study. I combined gut content and stable isotope analyses with abundance and diversity data to better understand the changes in community interactions over time. The focus of the research was on the role YOY fishes play in food web dynamics in extreme conditions associated with drying rivers.

Over the past summer, I utilized some of the same food web methods in tributaries to Lake Hovsgol in northern Mongolia. As a relatively pristine system, Hovsgol serves as a reference for base-line climate change impacts. Consequently, understanding trophic interactions is vital to the long term assessment of the impacts of warming.

I have since returned to work with larval fishes in a reproductive phenology project in the Brazos and Trinity rivers in Texas. We are attempting to assess the spawning time for several species of concern.