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Carmella Vizza


Carmella field workI am a fifth year graduate student in the Lamberti lab. After receiving my B.S. from Tulane University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, I spent four years as a project manager at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle where we looked at the effect of the salmon nutrients on stream and riparian ecosystems in Idaho. This was my first exposure to the world of biogeochemistry, where I learned how stable isotopes could be a powerful, but complicated ecological tool. For my next adventure, I decided to pursue my PhD at the University of Notre Dame and spend my summers in the Copper River Delta, Alaska. My dissertation is on how redox conditions and microbial communities influence wetland ecosystem function. The Copper River Delta is a unique landscape shaped by glacial, oceanic, and tectonic influences. The Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964, the second largest earthquake ever recorded in world history, elevated the Delta by several meters in places, which dramatically changed the landscape. These wetlands and ponds continue to undergo Eyak Northchanges in hydrology and vegetation as the Delta subsides. I am particularly interested in how the uplifted ponds closer to the coast 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, Carmella in the fieldand methane production vary along this biogeochemical 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.
Vizza, C., B.L. Sanderson, H.J. Coe, and D.T. Chaloner. Evaluating the consequences of salmon nutrients for riparian organisms: linking condition metrics to stable isotopes. In review.
Vizza, C., W.E. West, S.E. Jones, J.A. Hart, and G.A. Lamberti. Regulators of coastal wetland methane production and responses to simulated global change. In review.



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