Colorado mountains

Using geospatial data and field investigations to monitor effects of climate change on birds and amphibians: Leveraging a NASA Innovations in Climate Education (NICE) grant and LTER core data to train undergraduates in conducting ecological research

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Jeff Hepinstall-C...
Robert Cooper
Michael J. Conroy
J. Marshall Shepherd

Four faculty at the University of Georgia (two PI’s on CWT LTER) have teamed to train undergraduate students in conducting ecological research through a NASA Innovations in Climate Education (NICE, formerly Global Climate Change Education) grant. The focus, “How will ecological systems respond to global climate change across multiple spatial scales?” is targeted at undergraduate students in Forestry & Natural Resources, Ecology, and Geography who might be considering graduate school. Our goals are to: 1) Educate undergraduate students in global climate and Earth Systems science and technology and developing predictive models relating ecological processes to climate change; 2) provide research experience with Earth Observation data coupled with field data collection; and 3) integrate research to create predictive models, provide adaptive feedback, and support management decisions. We have done this through the creation of two courses:  Spring Semester: “Using models to explore the effects of climate change in the Southern Appalachians”; Summer Semester: “Exploring avian dynamics and landscape change using field data to inform models for monitoring and adaptive management”.  We report on the research undertaken by our first two cohorts (2011 and 2012) through this program.

Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER