Too Little or Too Much by Xinyi Zhou

Xinyi Zhou was paired with Dr. Maitland Bryan and made a poster for his recent research on Wisconsin Brook and Brown Trout populations and the role of hydrologic change in the long term. After learning about the research and discussing with Dr. Maitland, they decided to make a digital poster in Photoshop. 

The top two threats to Trout populations are climate change and land use, both affecting flow rate in streams. In order to express these two key elements clearly, Zhou separated the poster into two sections, one focusing on land use in a summer scenario, and another focusing on climate change in late winter and early spring. If the temperature gets hotter and there is not enough groundwater flowing into streams to buffer against shortage of surface water and adjust water temperature, droughts will occur and threaten trout populations. Zhou used a hand and a faucet to represent the big impact on groundwater supply due to human water use, especially agricultural irrigation. On the other side, climate change causes high precipitation in late winter and early spring, leading to extreme floods that threatens the survival of Trout and causes population decline. 


Xinyi Zhou is a senior at UW-Madison studying Genetics and Genomics with a certificate in studio art. Much of her artwork is inspired by biological systems and organic elements as well as news and events in biological fields such as COVID-19. She employs real or fictional creatures to explore the mutually reliant yet diametrically opposed relationship between human beings and nature. As a fan of surrealism, Zhou uses unrealistic elements and combines figures with seemingly disparate objects in confusing yet interesting ways to tell stories visually. You can find more of her work here or follow her on Instagram @lona_zhou.

ABOUT THE Water Researcher

Dr. Bryan Maitland is currently one of the Wisconsin Water Resources Science-Policy Fellows with the Wisconsin Water Resource Institute and Wisconsin DNR. Dr. Maitland is an aquatic conservation ecologist focusing on stream ecosystems and science communication. Dr. Maitland is interested in applying ecological data and models to address conservation problems. 

Funded by the Center for Humanities HEX-U Undergraduate Exchange.