Effects of Species Replacement on Detrital Processing Rates in Montane and Sub-Alpine Ponds
Using the facilities and field sites near the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, I am conducting a series of experiments to examine how different species of caddisfly larvae affect overall chemical nutrient availability in montane and sub-alpine ponds. This research aims to determine whether species replacements in similar habitats at different altitudes can translate to functional replacements with regard to their role(s) in various ecosystem functions. The results of this research will establish species-specific rates for the transfer of detrital nutrients (brown side of the foodweb) to algae (green side of the food web). By extension, these values will allow us to predict whether climate-change induced shifts in macroinvertebrate species composition will affect the linkage between detritus processing, algal productivity, and the overall metabolism in high-altitude ponds.