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Katz Lab News

New Paper on MAR modelling with Eric Dexter

Eric Dexter, a recent PhD graduate from Washington State University’s School of the Environment with Dr.s Stephen Bollens and Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, has published a new paper on invasive plankton in the Columbia River in the journal PLoS ONE.  These authors collaborated with Dr.s Stephen Katz and Stephanie Hampton, and the study includes an evaluation of the population-level effects of introduction of invasive species into the Columbia River zooplankton community using Multivariate Auto-Regressive (MAR) time series modelling techniques.  Among the findings were that local plankton communities can indeed be negatively impacted by the introduction of invasives such as the copepod, Pseudodiaptomus forbesi. The analysis leveraged a 12-year monthly time series curated by researchers at Washington State University’s Vancouver campus in the laboratories of Dr.s Bollens and Rollwagen-Bollens.  This study once again reinforces the values of long term monitoring programs.

New Paper from Alli Cramer on Classifying Ocean Biomes

Newly published in Global Ecology and Biogeography, research by Alli Cramer, a 2020 doctoral graduate of WSU’s School of the Environment, and WSU Professor Stephen Katz revealed a new approach which sorts biomes based on their life-supporting potential and stability of the sea floor.  Alli reviewed more than 130 studies to weigh variables such as light, depth, and nutrients across seven biomes incorporating dozens of environments, including coral reefs, kelp beds, ocean ice, and deep abyssal plains.  Analyzing the data inductively, rather than proceeding from an initial hypothesis, she found biomes were most clearly sorted by two strong variables: gross primary production, a measure of the energy in the food web; and substrate mobility, or the movement and composition of the ocean floor.  This represents a new synthesis that integrates metabolic energy flowing through communities with physical forcing of the abiotic environment as structuring forces in ecosystem organization.  This paper was some really creative science and it is especially satisfying as this paper started out as an answer to a question on Alli’s qualifying exam.

AGU Fall Meeting 2018

This fall has been busy!

The culmination of the term was at the annual American Geophysical Union conference in Washington, DC. The conference is a nexus for physical scientists in a variety of subjects. At the meeting, our graduate student Alli presented both a talk and a poster.

The talk, Quantifying changes in global lake surface area over 20 years (1995-2015) in relation to climate and human population, focused on trends in global lake surface area for over 1.3 million lakes. This work used the new Global Lake Area, Climate, and Population data set which graduate students from our lab, and our sister lab the Hampton Lab, have been developing. The data set combines HydroLAKES and HydroBASINS data sets with the JRC Global Surface Water data set to obtain annual permanent and seasonal surface areas for individual lakes >10 ha. Yearly basin-level 2-meter air temperature averages and total and average precipitation data were derived from MERRA-2 reanalysis data. Population data, also calculated to the basin level, came from the Gridded Population of the World data set. The talk was in a session devoted to remote sensing of surface waters. Lots of work is being done in this area, with many new data products and techniques in development.

The poster was focused on the successes and lessons from our R and Python Working Groups. Alli founded and runs the R Working Group here at WSU. The poster, Fostering cross-disciplinary research relationships through a common analytic language, focused on how analytic languages such as R and Python can help provide a shared vocabulary for researchers from different disciplines. The R and Python groups represent a bottom-up approach to developing interdisciplinary relationships.

Postdoctoral researcher position in quantitative ecology

The Katz and Hampton labs are seeking a post-doctoral researcher in quantitative ecology at Washington State University

We are seeking a postdoctoral associate for collaboration in freshwater research, with a general emphasis on highly quantitative approaches to understanding ecology and system stability, but with specific topics to be defined primarily by the successful candidate. Special opportunities exist for the postdoc to engage in interdisciplinary research on stability and behavior of food-energy-water systems, as part of a large collaboration. Additional areas of current interest include time series analysis of multivariate long-term data, under-ice ecology, monitoring and evaluation of stream restoration at regional scales, and global patterns in freshwater use and status. However, we are open to considering many areas of inquiry for the postdoctoral researcher’s work.

A Ph.D. (A.B.D. candidates will be considered) and a record of peer-reviewed publication in a relevant science field are required. Strong commitment to collaborative work is necessary, and experience working in large research collaborations is desired. Experience with programming in R is ideal, but those experienced in other programming environments should feel free to contact us to determine their fit to this position.

The postdoc will be based at Washington State University working directly with Dr. Stephanie Hampton and Dr. Steve Katz.  While there is flexibility in start date, we anticipate that the postdoc will be in residence at WSU-Pullman by September 2018, with the yearly appointment renewable up to two years. Please direct inquiries to and with subject “Ecology Postdoc”. A complete application will include a Statement of Interest (1-page maximum) that outlines some of the areas of potential research, and a C.V. with the names and contact information for 3 professional references. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

ASLO Summer Meeting

Members of the Katz lab are going to ASLO Summer Meeting in Victoria, CA. We will be presenting work on classifying ocean biomes in the Tuesday night poster session. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

Our colleagues from the Hampton Lab will also be at ASLO, running the “Importance of Winter and Seasonality in Aquatic Systems” session, and speaking on “Investigating the Ecosystem Consequences of Ice Loss in North Temperate Lakes” (Steve Powers) and “Effects of lakeside development on nearshore benthic communities along the southwestern shore of Lake Baikal (Siberia)” (Michael Meyer).