Bugs Below Zero
Corrie Nyquist: Research Team Highlight
By: Kate Meyer
From near to far, midges are everywhere! I was able to meet with Corrie to discuss some of their experiences with the Bugs Below Zero Project and their research on chironomids or midges from Minnesota and Iceland.
Corrie graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Environmental Science. They are now a Postdoc on the Bugs Below Zero Project helping to launch our community science program.
Corrie’s graduate research focused on the winter activity and community structure of cold-adapted chironomids or midges. They conducted research in geothermally heated and cold streams in Iceland and trout streams in Minnesota gaining some
interesting insights into cold-adapted chironomid biology.
What drew you to research involving bugs in winter?
“I have always been interested in freshwater ecology. Growing up, streams and running water felt like a magical environment that I was immediately drawn to.” Being curious about nature, Corrie also found an interest in looking under rocks and observing where insects lived and how they interacted. “As an undergraduate, I thought of this type of work as more of a hobby, I did not know that it
could be a career path.” Corrie had a professor in their undergrad that was a freshwater entomologist who became a mentor, guiding Corrie through freshwater undergraduate research projects. The research Corrie started out doing involved organic matter processing in shallow lakes.
How did the opportunity to do research in Iceland arise?
“I had an interest in glacial landscapes and was able to take classes during undergrad. My graduate advisor Dr. Ferrington knew about my background in glaciology and had connections to researchers in Iceland. So he was a huge supporter of me starting a project in Iceland. I was able to apply for funding and received a Fulbright Grant along with other funding.” Corrie received the Fulbright-NSF Arctic Research Grant for research involving Arctic Systems.
What has been your favorite experience with the Bugs Below Zero Project so far?
“Getting the opportunity to do research in Iceland and comparing it to the research being done in Minnesota. There are different species to work with but it is still very interesting to compare findings. I’ve been able to find that warming temperatures reduce the survival of taxa from both regions and that winter-active chironomids are potentially as common in Iceland as they are in Minnesota!-which is pretty common by the way.”
What are your goals for your research?
“Short term, I am looking forward to publishing my research and getting the literature out there for other researchers to make comparisons. Long term, my hope is for more people to get involved and expand the research across different areas, states, regions, and countries.”