How are environmental changes, such as climate change, impacting mammal species at high latitudes and high elevations?
Scientists are busy trying to understand the effects of environmental changes, such as climate change, on species around the world. Dr. Cook and his team are interested in understanding how these changes are influencing mammal species at high latitudes and high elevations. His focus is on mammals that may be distributed from the tops of mountains in New Mexico and Colorado all the way north to the Arctic Ocean, across Alaska into Siberia. Species in areas without much elevation could become more stressed due to increased environmental change. Surveying mammals and their associated parasites is an important first step in understanding the effects of these changes.
How has plant species diversity changed on a natural land flow since 1947?
An important focus of Dr. Williams' research is documenting the effects of environmental change, natural or human caused, on the distribution and abundance of plant species surrounding the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab in Gothic, CO. His student, Lydia Paradiso, is interested in understanding how a natural land flow has impacted plant compostition over the past 65 years. To understand such changes Dr. Williams and his team re-surveyed a land flow in the Gothic Valley, CO that had been surveyed from 1947 to 1953 by researcher Dr. Jean Langenheim.
How have plant communities in the Crested Butte, CO area changed over the past 60 years?
In 1953 Dr. Jean Langenheim described in depth the community composition of plants in the Crested Butte area in Gunnison County, Colorado. 60 years later Dr. Williams and his graduate student Stephanie Zorio are interested in resurveying Dr. Langenheim's study area to understand what changes have occured during this time period. Using Dr. Langenheim's thesis and help from the RMBL herbarium the team will revist old survey sites using the same methods that were used years ago.