Ashley Cowell

Effects of climate change on Sierra Nevada stream food webs

This project examines how Sierra Nevada snow melt, which is predicted to occur earlier in the year in the future, may impact aquatic insect communities. Using experimental streams at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL), we are examining how community structures and food web dynamics respond to changes in low flow timing. This summer I will be performing stable isotope analysis of macro-invertebrate samples to identify shifts in food web structure and relate those dynamics to changes in community composition. This research is vital to understanding how freshwater communities and ecosystems will respond to climate change.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you for supporting this opportunity that will allow me to continue working with my mentors on research over summer! I’m incredibly interested in freshwater ecology and am extremely grateful that I’ll be able to spend my summer focusing on this project.
  • Major: Environmental Sciences
  • Mentor: Albert Ruhi, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management