Allison M. Dennert (MSc Student)
I am a Master’s student being co-supervised by Drs. John Reynolds and Elizabeth Elle. My research examines the effects of Pacific salmon on estuarine wildflower meadows near salmon spawning habitat. Pacific salmon provide an immense amount of marine nitrogen to terrestrial ecosystems, which is contrary to the expected direction of nutrient flow in stream habitats. We would expect run-off from streams to transfer nutrients downstream from the land to the sea, but in salmon spawning habitat this effect is reversed annually when they return to spawn.
I am broadly interested in how this transfer of marine nutrients impacts wildflower fitness and pollination biology. Nutrients can impact pollen quality and availability, as well as other aspects of plant fitness and plant-pollinator interactions. Uncovering how flowers and their pollinators may benefit from salmon populations can help inform management strategies and shed light on how marine nutrient cycling can affect terrestrial species interactions.
My research takes place on the central coast of British Columbia, in the territory of the Heiltsuk Nation.
A.M. Dennert, S.L. May-McNally, M.H. Bond, T.P. Quinn, and E.B. Taylor. 2016. Trophic biology and migratory patterns of sympatric Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) and Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 94: 529-539. pdf