Alec Lackmann

Why I joined the ECS Ph.D. Program

I joined the ECS Ph.D. program because I enjoy science, research, and the pursuit of knowledge. I feel that this program will continue my journey towards my academic and personal goals, as well as facilitate my way toward a rewarding and fulfilling career.

My research

My dissertation research focuses on invertebrates of the high Arctic of Alaska. We specifically study the fly family Chironomidae (non-biting midges) because they are incredibly abundant in this tundra wetland ecosystem. This abundance makes them key players in their food web, as many higher trophic levels depend on their ubiquity. My research aims to understand the effects climate change is having on these insects in the rapidly warming Arctic, relative to data collected in the 1970s. I am investigating how chironomid phenologies, their adult size, and their life histories are changing. We work with an interdisciplinary team that focuses on migratory shorebird fitness. As a team, our main research goal is to determine if a trophic mismatch is occurring between these birds and bugs.

I also study local fish populations from the Red River of the North Basin and the Mississippi River Basin. I am specifically determining the life histories of underutilized, undervalued, and understudied native fishes, with a focus on their size-age structure. One species of particular interest is the bigmouth buffalo fish.