Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Power, Mary
Location University of California, Berkeley
Primary Field Environmental Sciences and Ecology
 Election Citation
Power's remarkable research on ecological processes in rivers and streams has generated novel insights into the functioning of these ecosystems. Pioneering experimental studies on trophic interactions and nutrient subsides established how disturbance affects food web structure and have discovered novel and surprising linkages between aquatic and adjacent terrestrial ecosystems.
 Research Interests
Power and her students and colleagues study food web interactions of bacteria, algae, aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians, and birds, lizards, spiders, and bats that feed on aquatic insect emergence in and around rivers. Species interactions change with environmental context, but in river networks, these changes are partially predictable. Channels widen downstream (increasing solar radiation) as discharge increases and sediments fine (increasing frequency of disturbance by bed scouring floods). Power and her group use field observations, manipulative experiments, and environmental mapping, sensing, and tracing technologies to investigate how critical food web interactions change over space and time. They examine and manipulate specific biotic and abiotic factors that affect species that structure local ecosystems (e.g., whether ecosystems look "green" or "barren") and mediate cross-ecosystem exchange of energy, organisms or materials linking rivers, uplands, and coastal oceans. Their goal is "predictive mapping" - using insights about local controls and ecosystem linkages to forecast how river-structured ecosystems will respond to changes in climate, land use, or biota.

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