New paper on plasticity, predation, plants, and the evolution of coloration in isopods

Thrilled to see Moritz Lürig‘s fantastic dissertation work out in the Journal of Animal Ecology (preprint here)! Supported by the ETH center for Adaptation to a Changing Environment and working in the Matthews lab at Eawag (Switzerland), Moritz looked at both diet and stickleback predation as drivers of camouflage on short and long timescales. More work on the fish side of this equation coming in the future!

New paper on feeding niche divergence in sticklebacks

Congrats Dominik Schmid on your excellent MS work, forthcoming in The American Naturalist. I knew I made all those stickleback babies for a good reason! Dominik found that very recently diverged (<200 yrs) lake and stream sticklebacks already differ in their feeding morphology, and that this translates into different feeding efficiency and selectivity in a diverse zooplankton community, altering ecosystem composition and function. Dominik’s easy-to-understand abstract available here.

Dominik W. Schmid, Matthew D. McGee, Rebecca J. Best, Ole Seehausen, and Blake Matthews (Mar 2019). Rapid divergence of predator functional traits affects prey composition in aquatic communities. The American Naturalist.

Plasticity in cottonwoods across the climate-stressed Southwest


So great to work with Hillary Cooper and other folks from the Cottonwood Ecology Group at NAU (Kevin Grady, Jacob Cowan, Gerard Allan, and Tom Whitham) on Hillary’s great new paper about trait plasticity across a steep climate gradient. Check out her final figure about how plasticity could alter how far away in temperature space you can plant a tree and have it thrive!



Morgan and Lauren are HURA recipients!

Morgan Andrews and Lauren Mason-Sarantopulos are recipients of 2018-2019 Hooper Undergraduate Research Awards (HURAs)! Lauren was also chosen to be a NASA Space Grant Intern. Congrats and here’s to an exciting year of research ahead!

Morgan Andrews: Climate Stressors and the Tolerance of Freshwater Invertebrates Along an Elevational Gradient

Lauren Mason-Sarantopulos: Variation in temperature and nitrate tolerances in native and introduced amphipods of Northern Arizona, Hyalella azteca and Gammarus lacustris


Kaitlen presents the lab’s first work on insect traits in stock ponds

Kaitlen Bieber presented her work on the prevalence of different aquatic invertebrate breathing strategies in low vs. high elevation ponds at the NAU UGRADS research symposium today. Terrific job identifying all those bugs and discussing their distribution under climate change, Kaitlen, and have fun on your upcoming international adventures! We look forward to hearing about all your future research adventures.

Joe presents his NASA Space Grant Internship work

Joe Sweet presented his work on remote sensing of seasonal water availability in thousands of small stock ponds across northern Arizona at the NAU UGRADS research symposium today. Joe also presented this work at the Arizona Space Grant Statewide Symposium in Tucson earlier this month. Joe did great work all year using Semi-Automatic Classification of multi-spectral Sentinel-2 imagery to figure out when and where aquatic habitats are available across the steep climate and elevation gradients that characterize the Southwest. Thanks NASA Space Grant and collaborator Dr. Dan Buscombe, and congrats Joe! Space Grant Interns are also featured in the student spotlight of NAU News today.