2023 TUNDRA Award Recipients

Anna Eichert

Project: Genetic Mechanisms of Cold Tolerance in Aquatic Insects of the Arctic

Researcher Anna Eichert stands in the tundra near Toolik.

Anna is a second year PhD student at the American Museum of Natural History studying the evolutionary history of stoneflies (Insecta: Plecoptera) and how this history can inform their potential response to climate change. Stoneflies provide pivotal ecosystem services in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems: they are food sources for predators, indicators of water quality, and mediate nutrient cycling and energy flow. Through this work provided through the TUNDRA Award, mid- to high-latitude stonefly species richness will increase and their response to climate change will be better understood on a species-to-species basis. She is especially interested in the conservation of particularly vulnerable species and the evolution of cold tolerance within the group.

Anna is seeking to uncover cryptic diversity within stoneflies among the North Slope, as well as the underlying genetic, behavioral, and physiological mechanisms they make use of to survive in frigid freshwater habitats. Anna Eichert's twitter


*dual project with Manpreet Kohli


Manpreet Kohli

Project: Genetic Mechanisms of Cold Tolerance in Aquatic Insects of the Arctic

A headshot of researcher Manpreet Kohli.

I am an assistant professor of Biology at Baruch College in City University of New York and a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History. I study patterns of insect biodiversity using systematics, molecular phylogenetics, population genetics and genomics. Currently, my research is focused on unravelling the evolutionary dynamics of arctic dwelling aquatic insects, particularly, dragonflies and damselflies and understanding how these insects respond to rapid climatic changes.

Through the TUNDRA award I will be studying the aquatic insect biodiversity, particularly, dragonflies and damselflies in the region. One of my aims is to samples dragonfly species Somatochlora sahlbergi and Libellula quadrimaculata, as a case study for genetic consequences of climatic changes. Manpreet Kohli's twitter

*dual project with Anna Eichert





Mingyue Yuan

Project: Carbon or nitrogen? A comparative study of limiting factors for soil microbes in two tundra ecosystems

Researcher Chelsea Smith sampling soils near Abisko, Sweden.

I am currently a PhD student at Lund University in Sweden. My academic journey has been driven by interest and curiosity. It began during my undergraduate study in plant protection at Shenyang Agricultural University in China. My master project was about functions of key iron-assimilation genes in plant pathogen fungi. In the final year of my master, I participated in an exchange study program in agricultural ecology at Agrocampus Ouest in France. This experience profoundly altered the scale of my study, shifting my interest from studying individual species to embracing the complexity of intact ecosystems. Ultimately, I decided to step further into the field of ecology.

I started my PhD project in 2019 and have been fascinated by it since then. My project is
about resource limitation for soil decomposer microbes, and how it affects microbial regulation of element cycling. I set the inquires on the Arctic, given it is high sensitivity to global warming. I found that soil microbes in a Swedish tundra were limited by carbon and a a legacy effect of historical disturbance of resource availability on microbial regulation of new resource inputs. Intriguingly, our finding of microbial carbon limitation in Swedish arctic tundra was not consistent with the findings from a similar tundra ecosystem in Alaska. -I was super curious about why! Hence, I proposed to do a comparative study of these two tundra ecosystems. This project has been approved by the Toolik Lake Station in Alaska, and granted by the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund. I also work on a collaborative project with the EucFACE facility in Australia to detect if microbial resource limitation is altered under atmospheric CO2 enrichment.

Out of office I like spending time in cooking, hiking, reading, and taking care of my plants. I am also big fan of everything related to astronomy, although I often have hard time when it comes to topics in fundamental physics. Mingyue Yuan's website | Mingyue Yuan's twitter








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