Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Daniel Khuu SURF SMART

Effects of Low Flow on Sierra Nevada Stream Food Webs

Sierra Nevada snowmelt is predicted to occur up to two months earlier by 2080, but we do not know how aquatic food webs will respond. Changes in snowmelt timing could decrease stream insect abundance and biodiversity via increased temperature and duration of low flows. This project seeks to understand how extended low flows alter stream food webs. My graduate student mentor collected samples from nine artificial streams that had different durations of low flow this past summer. I will help sort and identify these samples, which will ultimately result in an extensive dataset that will include temperature, discharge, light, community composition, primary production, trophic position, insect community growth rates, body size, and emergence timing.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to express my thanks and gratitude towards the Johnson Fund for giving me the opportunity to not only work on research in freshwater ecology, but also the ability for me to learn and explore the scientific process over the summer through the SURF-SMART program. Despite the tumultuous year of 2020, this program has allowed me to grow my skills as a scientist and discover my future career goals of pursuing research in graduate school. Although 2020 posed significant challenges, it also gave me confidence as I overcame these challenges alongside and with the help of my peers, advisors, and mentors. I am inspired to continue research in my following years at Berkeley and to also share my research back to our community.
Major: Undeclared
Mentor: Kyle Leathers
Sponsor: Johnson Fund
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