KU undergraduate studies role of minnows in aquatic food chain

♪ KU choral chant ♪ My name is Holly Lafferty
and I’m an ecology and evolutionary biology major. We’re at the Kansas River right next
to the town of Lecompton and we just netted some minnows
to use for our experiment. I like aquatic ecology and
I’ve chosen to kind of have that be my emphasis for my
undergraduate research project and hopefully my graduate research
after this because it’s very important, not only to the aquatic
ecosystem but it also affects everything else. The water in these rivers
helps support all of terrestrial ecosystems around it as well as
eventually ends up in the ocean and affects
the marine ecosystem. I got the undergraduate
research award to help fund my project. It has a lab component
and a field component. We just did part of
the field component. We have tanks of fish in the lab
and we’re feeding them at different schedules and
what we hope to do is be able to compare those fish that we have at
different schedules in the lab to the fish that
we collect here. After we collect all of the data,
we’re hoping to find out from this research if starvation
does occur in these minnows out in the river and also what
effect starvation does have on the tissues. Aquatic ecosystems are very
important to study especially as we start adding pollutants to them
because a lot of our livelihood depends on eating fish
and a really good way to examine aquatic ecosystems
is to look at their nitrogen isotope ratios because that
can tell you about where they fall within the food chain and
see how important they are to that particular ecosystem. ♪ upbeat, inspirational music ♪

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