May 2014. Dr. Daniel Allen was awarded the 2014 Hynes Award from the Society for Freshwater Science. The Hynes Award for New Investigators is awarded each year to a benthic scientist who was senior author of an outstanding primary publication in benthic science that appeared in print in the last 3 years (i.e., 2011 to availability online by 31 December 2013). Daniel won the award for his paper:
DC Allen, CC Vaughn, JF Kelly, JT Cooper, and MH Engel. 2012. Bottom-up biodiversity effects increase resource subsidy flux between ecosystems. Ecology 93 (10), 2165-2174
Daniel got his PhD from our lab in 2011. Following postdocs at Arizona State and Michigan, he is now an Assistant Professor in the School of Letters and Sciences at Arizona State University. Congratulations Dan!
April 2014: Congratulations to Carla Atkinson for being selected as the 2013 recipient of the Provost’s PhD Dissertation Award for Science and Engineering here at OU for her dissertation “Hierarchical Controls on the Impact of Consumer Stoichiometric Regulation: From Species Traits to Ecosystem Level Consequences”. Go Carla!!
Also – Congratulations to Carla for her tenure-track Assistant Professor job at the University of Alabama that starts in January 2015!
Our paper on how mussels alter nutrient limitation was recommended by the Faculty of 1000!
Atkinson, Carla L., Caryn C. Vaughn, Kenneth J. Forshay and Joshua T. Cooper. 2013. Aggregated filter feeding consumers alter nutrient limitation – consequences for ecosystem and community dynamics. Ecology 94:1359-1369.
Our work was highlighted in a recent Science Magazine article on freshwater mussels:
“By filtering water, mussels move nutrient through the food web, supporting nearby terrestrial ecosystems as well. The result: Rivers and streams with a greater number of mussel species tend to have richer algal and insect communities than those with fewer species Caryn Vaughn of the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and colleagues concluded in a paper published in Ecology last month.”
Our paper recently published online in Ecology was selected as a “must read” paper by the Faculty of 1000:
Allen, Daniel C., Caryn C. Vaughn, Jeffrey F. Kelly, Joshua T. Cooper and Michael H. Engel. 2012. Bottom-up biodiversity effects increase resource subsidy flux between ecosystems. Ecology, doi 10.19890_11-1541.1.
“This is a very interesting study that carefully tracks how changes in biodiversity in a freshwater community (in this case, of a mussel) influences the adjacent terrestrial food web through changes in algal community structure and the resulting increase in the availability of aquatic insects (prey for spiders). This paper highlights the often underestimated subsidy of freshwater to terrestrial food webs and illustrates the influence of biodiversity changes in one ecosystem on adjacent ones, an issue also relevant to conservation and global change ecology.”
The National Science Foundation visited our lab on November 7, 2011, to do a segment on our work on the role that freshwater mussels play in ecosystems. Here is the link to the story and video.
1/27/11: A paper published in the journal Ecology by PhD student Daniel Allen and Caryn Vaughn was a featured Research Highlight in the 27 January issue of Nature. Several decades of research have shown that biodiversity affects trophic ecosystem processes like biomass production and resource acquisition. However, studies investigating if biodiversity can influence non-trophic ecosystem processes, such as the physical creation and modification of habitat, are lacking. Allen and Vaughn hypothesized that freshwater mussel biodiversity might influence the erosion of riverbed sediments because mussel species differ in burrowing behaviors and shell morphologies that may influence turbulence patterns at the sediment water interface. They conducted experiments in artificial streams that demonstrated that an increase in mussel species richness is associated with increased sediment erosion. Further, these effects were additive at low densities, but non-additive at high densities, indicating that organism abundance fundamentally alters the relationship between biodiversity and erosion. This research demonstrates that biodiversity can influence physical processes in ecosystems, and that changes in abundance may also influence this relationship.