My name is Kevin Silberberg, and I am a third-year transfer student majoring in ecology and evolution and minoring in applied math. I will be participating in the Rosy-Finch project this summer with the Zavaleta Lab. Super stoked – it was my first choice of all the internship options in CAMINO. I love backpacking in the high Sierras, and I have never participated in field research before, so I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I am really interested in developing an understanding of how humans interact with natural ecosystems, but also novel ecosystems in urban environments, directly and indirectly, and how these interactions can be made more mutualistic on a structural and cultural level for the purpose of sustaining biological diversity and human well-being. Your Content Goes Here

Read the abstract to my talk for the 2022 EEB Undergraduate Research Symposium

The Gray-Crown Rosy-Finch (GCRF) sub species dawsoni is an omnivorous native to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and breeds at the highest elevations in the alpine ecosystem. During the breeding season the juveniles of the GCRF have increased protein requirements and are primarily fed insects because they are high in proteins. In late spring when mayflies begin their reproductive life stage, emerge from alpine lakes, and take flight, the GCRF utilize this resource to drastically increase the rate at which they can feed their juveniles, which will often accompany the adults to these lakes. Trout, which were introduced to these naturally fishless lakes to provide recreational fishing, are voracious eaters of the native macroinvertebrate populations and may be taking away a vital insect resource from the GCRF. In this study I analyzed 27 different sites in the Sierra Nevada and White mountains looking at the number of trout caught per lake at each site, and the total number of GCRF observations over the last 5 years to determine if the presence of trout had any impact on the abundance of the GCRF. My results were not significant due to study limitations and the nature of the existing data that I was analyzing. I propose that the near-shore habitat type determines successful mayfly emergence in lakes containing trout, and mayflies as a food resource may be more or less significant based on the abundance of insects trapped on snowpack near nesting sites.