This blog is about our research project to assess the impact of climate change on alpine ecosystems in Western North America. Specifically we are studying how one beautiful wildflower, Saxifraga austromontana, will fare as the temperature rises and alpine habitat shrinks. This spring and summer we will cross the Rocky Mountain chain from New Mexico into British Columbia, climbing peaks and conducting biological research! It is our goal to raise awareness about how climate change is altering the alpine, and to get people stoked about conserving our natural resources!
Mountainous regions are especially sensitive to climate change. Global warming is predicted to negatively impact high elevation species because they have nowhere to go. In addition to the threat of climate-driven habitat loss and the invasion of other species from lower elevations, alpine plants must also respond to increasing fire frequency and intensity. The fire regime of the North American mountain west is expected to change by mid-century, drastically altering the ecosystem processes. I will investigate the following question: How will the biotic response to future warming by alpine plants be influenced by increased fire frequency and intensity?
Hi, I’m Trevor Bloom, a biologist raised between Jackson, WY and Kauai, Hi….long story. I recently completed my graduate work at Western Washington University in “sunny” Bellingham, WA! Climb-it-Change is the public outreach component of my MSc degree in Biology. I love to travel, climb, adventure, and conduct quality science to inform conservation. Before this project I worked as a wildlife guide in Yellowstone and the Tetons for Brushbuck Guide Services. Prior to that, I researched the evolution of arachnids (spiders and scorpions) in the Caribbean and discovered two new species of Blind Spiders.
Hello, I’m Matt Kneipp, a recent environmental science graduate from Western Washington University. I’m originally from the flat lands of Illinois, but once I moved out west I became enthralled with the mountainous environment. The mountains are my playground and classroom so by being a part of Climb-it Change I hope to learn about the places I love and help to conserve them.