Student Spotlight – Kyle Leathers
Five Questions with:
Name: Kyle Leathers
Advisor: Albert Ruhi
Department: Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
1. WHERE DID YOU DO YOUR UNDERGRAD/MASTERS AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE UC BERKELEY?
2. WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH GETS YOU UP IN THE MORNING?
Freshwater environments face countless threats directly or indirectly caused by humans, so I am eager to improve our knowledge of these threats. One such threat that I am currently researching is drought and water abstraction-induced low flow. I am excited to learn more about how these phenomena change food webs in Sierra Nevada streams. Collecting aquatic insects under a beautiful mountain backdrop is an added bonus.
3. IF YOU COULD MAKE A GROUND BREAKING DISCOVERY OR CHANGE A SYSTEM IN THE WORLD OF WATER RESEARCH, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would choose to discover what threats to freshwater environments deserve the most attention and action. Between climate change, invasive species, excess nutrients, and many more dangers to freshwater health, managers must choose which threats deserve their attention. I want their resources to be used effectively to maximize the benefit to the environment.
4. WHAT’S THE MOST EXCITING CHALLENGE YOU’VE TACKLED WHILE STUDYING AT UC BERKELEY?
My current research project on how extended low flow duration affects aquatic insect communities and food webs has been exciting because I am studying new aspects of the community compared to past studies. However, it has been challenging to measure primary production, build traps for emerging insects, and measure the growth of aquatic insects over time. Advice from other researchers has been indispensable to learn these techniques and I am thankful that my project has allowed me to meet other great scientists from a diversity of backgrounds.