Mary Power

Research Expertise and Interest

freshwater ecology, food webs, trophic dynamics, northern California rivers, watersheds

Research Description

Mary Power is Professor Emeriti in the Department of Integrative Biology and Faculty Manager of the Angelo Coast Range Reserve. Her research interests center on river food webs. She has studied interactions among fish, birds, invertebrates, and algae in temperate and tropical rivers. She is particularly interested in how attributes of species affect food web structure and dynamics, and how strengths of these interactions change under different environmental regimes. Her research group has studied, for example, the interplay of trophic dynamics with hydrologic and productivity regimes in northern California rivers, as well as impacts of invading alien species, and linkages between rivers and their watersheds. Much of their current field work takes place in the South Fork Eel River, within the Angelo Coast Range Reserve in Mendocino, CA, one of the University of California Natural Reserve System's 35 research and teaching reserves. She has also recently started collaborating with Jill Banfield, a geomicrobiologist at Berkeley, in a study of the microbial interactions that generate acid mine drainage, and with earth scientists in a newly funded NSF Science and Technology Center, the National Center for Earth Surface Dynamics, in studies of the evolution of linked eco-geomorphic systems in watersheds.

In the News

Eel River Observatory seeks clues to watershed’s future

University of California, Berkeley, scientists will receive $4,900,000 over the next five years to study the nearly 10,000 square kilometer Eel River watershed in Northern California and how its vegetation, geology and topography affect water flow all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Four UC Berkeley scientists elected to National Academy of Sciences

Four University of California, Berkeley, faculty members – physicists John Clarke and Bernard Sadoulet, chemist John Hartwig and ecologist Mary Power – have been elected members or foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences, bringing UC Berkeley’s total NAS membership to 141.

Ecosystems take hard hit from loss of top predators

A new paper reviewing the impact of the loss of large predators and herbivores high in the food chain confirms that their decline has had cascading effects in marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems throughout the world. The study, co-authored by UC Berkeley researchers, highlights the impact “apex consumers” have on the dynamics of fire, disease, vegetation growth, and soil and water quality.

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