Crop Selection Consequences for Stream Ecosystem Function

In collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Tank, University of Notre Dame, Dr. Todd Royer, Indiana University and Dr. Matt Whiles, Southern Illinois University, I am examining the cycling of novel allochthonous carbon, i.e. agricultural crop by-products, in Midwestern agricultural streams. Corn production dominates much of the Midwestern US landscape. We are investigating the influence of corn varieties on stream ecosystems. Our work demonstrates that corn byproducts enter streams and are retained within headwater reaches. In laboratory feeding trials, when caddisflies were fed on genetically-modified corn material, they had decreased growth rates (Rosi-Marshall et al. 2007).

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