Peter Smyntek - recently graduated with a Ph. D. (August 2006)
My research focuses on the use of stable isotopes (carbon d13C and nitrogen - d15N) and fatty acids to characterize aquatic food webs. These chemical techniques are powerful ecological tools which aid our understanding of the biodiversity in lakes that have experienced different levels of human impact. In addition, they help us trace the movement of energy from the primary producers, the algae, to the top predators such as largemouth bass or northern pike. I am presently comparing the pelagic (off-shore) food webs of the Great Lakes (Ontario and Michigan), several Finger Lakes (Otisco, Keuka, and Onondaga not a true Finger Lake), and Lake Champlain with several lakes from in the English Lake District.
The Lake District expedition - Summer 2005
Collecting the zooplankton on a beautiful, sunny day on Windermere was definitely a highlight!
Steve Thackeray (on the left) was instrumental this sampling project. He helped me collect samples and taught me to identify many different zooplankton species.
Sorting the zooplankton under the microscope took a LOOOOONG time.
From left to right a female Megacyclops (huge!), a male Megacyclops, a female Cyclops, a male Cyclops, and a female Mesocyclops
The joys of filtering water samples
The Velia: The faithful sampling boat of the Freshwater Biological Associate on Windermere
The boathouse on scenic (and algae-filled) Esthwaite Water
I did make sure to see the sites in London, such as Big Ben