Transfer of nutrients and contaminants from wetlands to rivers by water boatmen
This research will explore how the annual migration of small insects known as water boatmen affect fish in rivers. It will first use natural fingerprints called stable isotope ratios that differ between wetlands and rivers, to trace how much of fish diet is made up of water boatmen after they arrive in rivers from wetlands in the fall. It will then test to see if water boatmen are bringing any toxic chemicals with them when they migrate. It will compare concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons between water boatmen and other prey items such as mayflies and dragonflies that live in the river year round. The results will help us better understand the importance of wetlands in supporting fish production.