An example of a midge emergence at Lake Mývatn in Iceland
Ecosystem linkage and aboveground-belowground food webs
Date : January 18, 2018 By Dr Matthew A McCary
The project I am currently working on as a postdoctoral research fellow examines how vegetation productivity and structure alters feedback loops between above [plant] and belowground [soil] food webs. This research is conducted at Lake Mývatn in northeastern Iceland; a system known for its high production of aquatic insects (midges), which emerge, mate and die on land, thereby providing a resource subsidy to the surrounding terrestrial landscape. I investigate how these midge subsidies change the energy flow of food webs in subarctic heathland (low productivity) and grassland (high productivity) ecosystems. Because of the structure and low production of heathlands surrounding Lake Mývatn, these ecosystems are expected to exhibit the most pronounced feedback-loop changes in response to midge subsidies.
This project is funded by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (Awarded to Dr. Matthew A. McCary, Award #1611638).