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Joseph BumpBiosphere - Atmosphere Research and Training (BART)
Michigan Technological UniversityHoughton, MI
I'm a third-year doctoral student in the Forest Resources & Environmental Science Department at Michigan Technological University. My advisor, Rolf Peterson, works mostly on predator-prey relationships and the ecology of wolves and moose. My research (project descriptions below) incorporates aspects of food web ecology, climate change, and ecosystem ecology. I received a BS in biology at the University of Michigan and an MS in Zoology & Physiology at the University of Wyoming prior to beginning doctoral work.
1) Animals as Monitors of Changes in Atmospheric Carbon Isotopes:
Recent data suggest that animal-derived carbon isotope chronologies, especially from higher, terrestrial trophic levels, accurately reflect changes in the isotopic composition of atmospheric carbon. The isotopic composition of atmospheric carbon is useful in the context of global carbon modeling as an indicatorof the relative contributions and reactivities of various carbon reservoirs. This project seeks to improve our understanding of how the carbon isotope signature of the atmosphere changes across trophic levels as a basis for evaluating the utility of using animal remains for accurate reconstruction of the historical isotopic composition of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Experimental and correlative studies of animal remains and atmospheric carbon isotope values will be used to address the utility of using animal remains in this context.
2) Predators, Prey Carcasses, Nutrient Subsidies, & Ecosystem
Heterogeneity: The primary goal of this research is to elucidate the extent to which predation influences nutrient subsidies and ecosystem heterogeneity from large animal carcasses. Recent studies document that carcasses provide important nutrient subsidies to ecosystems, influence heterogeneity, and cannot be discounted as transient or ecologically trivial. Yet, the link between predators and the ecological legacy of a prey carcass remains unexplored. This research will improve our understanding of the ecological role of top predators in ecosystems, and the mechanisms of diversity, nutrient transport, and heterogeneity. Thereby aiding personnel to preserve the integrity of the systems in their care by helping them predict the effects of extirpations, re-introductions, and invasions.
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