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Carmella Vizza


Carmella field workI am a fourth year graduate student in the Lamberti lab. After working on a project monitoring juvenile Chinook salmon habitat in Idaho streams for four years at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, I decided to pursue my PhD at the University of Notre Dame. Now Eyak NorthI spend my summers in the Copper River Delta, Alaska where I study the effects of climate change on the ecosystem function of a suite of ponds with varying biogeochemistry. The Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 elevated the Delta by a couple of meters creating uplifted ponds that continue to undergo changes in hydrology and vegetation. I am particularly interested in how these uplifted ponds differ functionally from the outwash ponds that receive glacial inputs of iron rich water and sediments. I want to understand how ecosystem metabolism, decomposition, nutrient limitation of biofilm, and methane production vary along this Carmella in the fieldbiogeochemical gradient and how this might affect the food web structure of these ponds. These ponds provide important habitat for several species of migratory birds including the dusky Canada goose (Branta canadensis occidentalis), which only breeds in the Copper River Delta, and the IUCN red-listed rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus). Therefore, it is important to understand how these birds utilize the ponds and which of their resources may be disproportionately affected by climate change. The temperature increases and sea level rise that are projected in northern latitudes may threaten fish and wildlife habitat as well as other services that these wetlands provide including nutrient removal and carbon storage.

Media Coverage:

Video by University of OregonBlooper roll for video by University of Oregon
Video by University of Oregon Blooper reel
Scientific Collections International Report on Delta work. 


    Vizza, C., B.L. Sanderson, D.G. Burrows, and H.J. Coe. 2013. The effects of ethanol preservation on fish fin stable isotopes: Does variation in C:N ratio and body size matter? Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 142(5): 1469-1476.



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