Food Chain Length in Rivers (FCL) Project & Riparian Food-webs

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Sponsoring College, Department, School or Center: 
Faculty Name: 
John L. Sabo
Preferred Skills or Majors: 

Demonstrated interest in ecology; coursework in biology, ecology, chemistry, hydrology, and or statistics; enthusiasm about conducting both field and lab work with occasional long days in the field or multi-day field trips.

Closing Date: 
May 14, 2019
Location or Campus: 
Tempe Campus LSA 329
Hours Per Week: 
5-10 course credit available

Desired Academic Year: 
Project Description: 

The Sabo Laboratory at ASU is offering 2 research opportunities for undergraduates. The FCL project has been designed to understand how variation of streamflow affects energy transfer through food webs. Our research focuses specifically on floods, droughts, and nitrogen pulses during floods as drivers of variation in stream food chain length. Proposed topics include:

1) Are seasonal or interannual trends in hydrology more important drivers of changes in community composition and FCL of desert stream macroinvertebrates?

2) How do primary production, nutrient limitation, and disturbance regime interact to control secondary production in aridland streams?

3) Do native and non-native species of fish compete directly for resources or utilize different ecological niches?

The Riparian Food-webs project is investigating seasonal changes in food-web dynamics and the influence of floods and droughts on species interactions. Undergraduate researchers would assist in collecting lizards and arthropods along the Agua Fria and San Pedro rivers in AZ and analyzing samples. With guidance the student will have the opportunity to further develop the research questions above, contribute to publications, and potentially develop independent projects.

Both opportunities can be used as potential Honors Thesis Research. All Sophomores and Juniors are highly encouraged to apply!

Application Instructions and Contact Info: 

For more information, please email a short statement on why you are interested in the project, your expected graduation date, and a list of relevant coursework to Leah Gaines-Sewell, Research Field Specialist - Stream Ecology at Arizona State University, at