Species diversity and heavy metal accumulation in insects found on metal-enriched sites in Hancock County, Maine

Ecosystems where soils contain heavy metals such as nickel, zinc, lead, copper and chromium can provide insights into the diversity and physiology of organisms which tolerate high levels of toxic elements. There has been extensive work done on the diversity and physiological-ecology of plants which inhabit areas with high concentrations of heavy metals. Little work, however, has explored metal transfer across higher trophic levels in these ecosystems. Herbivorous insects that feed on metal accumulating plants are capable of mobilizing heavy metals into the food chain, with potential for biomagnification at higher trophic levels. By studying the diversity and metal-accumulating potential of insects which inhabit several local sites with heavy-metal rich soils we hope to learn about the kinds of native insects which can cope with large amounts of heavy metals and how the bioaccumulation of metals affects the ecosystem as a whole, including the effects on higher trophic levels.

Email: louisekirvendows@gmail.com

105 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME, 04609

Awards and Recognitions

Global and Civic Engagement Fund, College of the Atlantic (2011): Support for field research/conference participation. $435.

Kathryn Davis International Advanced Studies Award, College of the Atlantic (2011): Support to attend the Seventh International Conference on Serpentine Ecology. $850.

Presidential Scholarship Award, College of the Atlantic (2008-2011): Annual scholarship of $12,000 and one time research/travel grant of $3000.

Maurine and Robert Rothschild Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Fund Grant (2011): Support for research on insect-plant relations of serpentine/granite outcrops of Deer Isles and Cu-Zn-enriched Callahan Mine, Maine. $1200

Conference Presentations (presenter in bold)

J. E. GallKirven-Dows, L. A., C. Graham and N. Rajakaruna. 2011. Diversity and metal content of insects on adjacent serpentine and granite outcrops on the Deer Isles, ME, USA. Poster to be presented at the 7th International Conference on Serpentine Ecology, Coimbra, Portugal, June 12-16.

J. E. Gall, Kirven-Dows, L. A., C. Graham and N. Rajakaruna. 2011. Diversity and metal content of insects on adjacent serpentine and granite outcrops on the Deer Isles, ME, USA. Poster presented at the Northeast Natural History Conference, Albany, NY, April 6-9, 2011.

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