Ariana is a research associate at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory. She completed her PhD at Portland State University in Oregon as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and ESUR IGERT Fellow, with a Certificate of Innovation in College Teaching and was most recently a postdoctoral associate at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory.
At UVM, Ariana is studying the food web structure of Lake Champlain’s forage fish community to understand the potential consequences of a looming quagga mussel invasion. Quagga mussels will likely change the distribution of basal energy resources in the lake, which could hurt populations of alewife and smelt – important prey species for lake trout. Ariana is using stable isotope analysis and gut content analysis to map out the current energy pathways that support these forage fish, so that fisheries managers can adapt to protect the resiliency of Lake Champlain’s fishery.
For her doctorate research, Ariana collaborated with the National Parks Service, US Geological Survey, and scientists at the WasserCluster Lunz Research Center in Austria to understand how mercury bioaccumulates in mountain lake food webs, and the resulting implications for lake management. She also enjoys interdisciplinary work and is interested in the social and ecological implications of toxic chemical production and use.