The Scientist and the Ecosystem: Prologue

Multimedia journalists Julia Reihs and Zooboo Li Li Bayarmagnai are seniors at the SOJC. They have both worked on stories about wildlife and ecosystems in the Copper River Delta for the last year, including flying solo before the rest of the team arrived to gather crucial bird-related footage.

Her first summer in Cordova, Alaska, Carmella Vizza fell in love with the Copper River Delta as a place with endless possibilities for her research about pond ecosystems. The ponds are the foundations of the food chain on the Delta, providing a home for small organisms, insects and birds that affect everything from the salmon cycle to predatory bears. A graduate student researcher from Notre Dame University, Vizza works each summer to gather information about how ponds transform in the face of climate change, and the repercussions this may have on the entire ecosystem.