Tonya Ramey

I am studying the influence of headwater streams on invertebrate communities in the riparian zone.  Small streams often have a lot of canopy cover and steep banks that influence the temperature of the water and the amount of resource subsidies entering the stream.  But how do these small streams influence the adjacent terrestrial environment.  Riparian zones often have groundwater channels that are nearer the surface of the soil, and nutrients from groundwater as well as stream water can collect in soils near stream edges.  Streams also provide a cool, moist refuge during hot, dry summers.  Water and nutrients are important for ecosystem functions, like leaf litter decomposition, as well as the animals that make such functions possible, like detritivorous centipedes.  Through a series of experiments in UBC’s Malcolm Knapp Research Forest (Maple Ridge, BC, Canada), I will determine how distance from the stream can influence the composition and diversity of riparian invertebrates, as well as litter decomposition rates of different tree species.  I will also provide additions of water and nutrients to determine whether these resources have a strong influence on invertebrates and decomposition processes, and in what ways.


My background is in ecology and conservation.  I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona (yes, the beautiful Sonoran Desert!).  I received my Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, and my Master of Arts in Conservation Biology from Columbia University.  I have worked on everything from rotifers to ants to manatees.  I have a special interest in community ecology and wildlife disease, and desire working in the field of conservation management.  I also have a passion for wildlife rehabilitation, and currently volunteer at the Wildlife Rescue Association in Burnaby, BC.