2014 spring/summer course offerings that will apply toward a Climate Change Studies minor
The Climate Change Studies Program, in conjunction with the College of Forestry and Conservation, offers a competitive grants program to support undergraduate student summer fieldwork. Funding is available through a USDA Higher Education Challenge grant designed to support the training of leaders in climate change and natural resources through experiential and field-based learning. Each year, three awards are available, each up to $3,000, to support student stipends related to fieldwork.
The deadline for summer 2013 proposal submissions is March 20, 2013.
Link to Request for Proposals
Todd Blythe: Sensitivity Analysis of Changing Climate on the Thermal Gradient of Streams
Senior, Resource Conservation/Restoration Ecology, 2012
Climate change has the potential to alter biogeochemical cycles and biological communities in aquatic habitats. Anthropogenic contributions can accelerate these changes to an unnatural rate, which does not allow organisms to adapt or acclimate. Thus, it is important to understand how a stream reacts to climatic changes over a short time period in order to mitigate any harmful effects. This project sought to analyze and project a stream’s sensitivity to various scenarios of induced climate change (particularly a warming climate). This is particularly important in semi-arid areas of the Western United States (i.e. states like Montana) where rivers and streams provide important natural resources and are cherished by residents and tourists.
Todd Blythe’s Field Project Proposal
Todd Blythe’s Project Summary Report
Tracy Wendt: Fluvial Westslope Cutthroat Trout Movements and Restoration of Thermal Habitats
Senior, Resource Conservation and Restoration Ecology, 2012
Across the intermontane west, climate change is predicted to affect the distribution and abundance of salmonids by elevating water temperatures, leading to habitat loss and fragmentation. Westslope cutthroat trout (WSCT) are particularly vulnerable to changes in water temperature, and cannot tolerate water temperatures above 13-15oC (Bear et al. 2007). The intent of this project was to evaluate the utility of restoration techniques in mitigating some of the known or anticipated effects of a changing climate on habitat usage of this species of concern. The specific objective of this study was to determine whether or not restoration efforts on Nevada, Grantier, and associated creeks have had an effect on the use of different habitats by monitoring movement and habitat usage of native WSCT. Telemetry relocations of WSCT, water temperature, and discharge data were collected and analyzed to evaluate the effects of restoration efforts on WSCT migratory life history and size of home range.
Tracy Wendt’s Field Project Proposal
Tracy Wendt’s Project Summary Report
Matt Dunkle: The Effects of Mountain Pine Beetle Induced Forest Mortality on Headwater Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Communities
Senior, Environmental Studies and Wildland Restoration majors, Wilderness Studies minor, 2011
This project will assess the response of headwater stream insect communities to changes in whitebark pine duff brought on by climate change and mountain pine beetle invasion. In the case of whitebark pine mortality, it is likely that large pulses of litter with drastically different chemical make-ups are entering stream communities at the lowest level of the food web, which may be fundamentally altering the structure and function of those ecosystems. This study will fill a current gap in our understanding of this outbreak through the assessment of relationship between aquatic insect communities and mountain pine beetle invasion through the decomposition and processing of whitebark pine leaf litter.
Brian Fauver: Using Citizen Science to Monitor Impacts of Climate Change on Forest Ecosystems.
Senior, Resource Conservation major, Wilderness Studies minor, 2011
This project will assess the efficacy of citizen scientists for monitoring forest ecosystem responses to disturbances. Understanding the extent to which citizens can be used to effectively monitor ecological change will be critical for developing programs to monitor ecosystem responses to climate change as well as interventions designed to mitigate climate change effects. To date, no one has evaluated the efficacy of using citizens to monitor invasive weeds or fuels, key variables for understanding change in forest ecosystems. This project will assess the reliability of data collected by citizen scientists in projects areas that are a part of the Southwest Crown of the Continent (SWCC) Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP).