Area of Study
Science and Mathematics
The study of Spirit Lake has been ongoing for decades, and in 2015 the arrival of Potamopyrgus antipodarum, an invasive mud snail, has given us an opportunity to study the effects of an invasion in relative isolation. The herbivorous (grazer) mud snail is native to New Zealand though present in many freshwater ecosystems in the United States. The impacts of this invasive species can be that of reducing fish population and dominating the food web connections, including energy (carbon) and nutrient (nitrogen) flow. Currently Spirit Lake is oligotrophic (low in nutrients), and our understanding of macronutrient cycling through biogeochemical analyses is pertinent to assessing and protecting the health of its ecosystem and the surrounding areas connected by streams. Using stable isotope data we analyze how the presence of P. antipodarum in the isolated Spirit Lake ecosystem alters the food web (specifically, if it competes with native herbivorous snails).
Cranston, Wyatt C., "The Role of an Invasive Snail in the Aquatic Food Web at Spirit Lake, Mount St. Helens" (2021). Summer Research. 405.
University of Puget Sound