Michael is an avid naturalist who has spent the past two summers doing research with students from the Earth to Ocean group in between working towards his undergraduate degree and countless hours of volunteering for Wild Research.
Alongside Rylee and Danielle’s Run-of-River projects, this summer Michael will be investigating how Coastal tailed frog tadpoles respond to rapid changes in stream stage. During normal operations of RoR dams, ramping (the reducting of in stream flow when turbines go on- or off-line) occurs at controlled speeds that are aimed to reduce stranding for salmonids. However, some emergencies necessitate rapid shut down of the turbines and may cause extreme reductions in flow downstream of the powerhouse (when it takes a period of time for the flow to back up the buried penstock, flow over the top of the dam, and run down the stream channel). It is during these instances that grazing tadpoles along the margins of the stream may be subject to drying. Left out of water for even a few minutes, the tadpoles run the risk of suffocating and dessication.
Using a RoR mesocosm designed to be operated in the field, Michael will test various ramping rates to understand how tailed frogs will respond to such events. The team will also conduct a series of habitat surveys to better understand the natural and anthopogenically induced variation in stream flow throughtout the summer operating period of dams in the South Coast region.