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K-State Today

May 7, 2013

Streams of knowledge: Academy of Science speaker to visit campus, talk about food webs, water quality

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University's Division of Biology is hosting a U.S. National Academy of Sciences member who will speak about food web connections in watersheds.

Mary Eleanor Power, professor of integrative biology at the University of California at Berkeley and director of the Angelo Coast Range Reserve, will present "Algal-mediated food web linkages of rivers, uplands, and coastal oceans" at 4 p.m. Friday, May 10, in 120 Ackert Hall.

"Dr. Power has vastly increased our fundamental understanding in how complex ecological systems work," said Walter Dodds, university distinguished professor and Power's university host. "These interactions link to water quality and conservation of aquatic species. She takes a broad view and links her ecological concepts across systems, from the mountains to the ocean through the streams."

Power's research suggests that river biota and their interactions are strongly influenced by the topography and large vegetative structure of watersheds. Using a predictive mapping approach, she has found that interacting trophic and hydrologic regimes govern the production and fate of dominant primary producers such as macroalgae, diatoms and cyanobacteria in the Eel River of northwestern California. The mapping approach investigates how food webs change with changes in topographically-driven environmental controls.

She will discuss how predictive mapping might be applied to forecast changes in algal-mediated linkages of river, upland and nearshore marine ecosystems in response to climate, land use or biotic change.