These photos show the changes in the forest near GLEES from 2003 to 2013.
Photo Credit: John Frank
Friday, March 7, 2014
When you visit the Snowy Range in the Medicine Bow National Forest, you notice something—brown trees. Since 2008, this high alpine forest west of Laramie by way of highway 130 has undergone a considerable transformation caused by a bark beetle epidemic.
There are many species of bark beetles in the United States, and uncontrollable bark beetle outbreaks are occurring in forests throughout the country. In the high alpine forest surrounding the Glacier Lakes Ecosystems Experimental Site (GLEES) near the Snowy Range Mountains, the spruce beetle is the dominate species of bark beetle present and tree mortality is noticeable in this Wyoming Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir forest.
Spruce beetles aid in killing trees by exposing them to blue stain fungi which colonize the xylem of the attacked trees; thus, not allowing water to travel through the tree. Although spruce beetles can be a part of healthy forest cycle, under epidemic conditions spruce beetles drastically impact forests by attacking large populations of larger diameter trees.
At GLEES, University of Wyoming scientists, including members of the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG), have an ongoing partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to monitor spruce beetle impacts there and assess how this epidemic has changed forest conditions.
Last Friday, UW doctoral student, John Frank, discussed findings from his research at GLEES on changes in the ecosystem due to tree mortality. John is not only working towards earning his Ph.D. within the Program in Ecology, but he is also an employee of the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. With support from his UW Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Brent Ewers, John discovered that to accurately model predictions of ecological conditions (ecosystem fluxes of carbon dioxide and water vapor) after disturbance from the spruce beetle epidemic, changes in tree physiology have to be accounted for in addition to the observed mortality of the trees.
To get to this conclusion, John evaluated six years of data which was collected during the progression of the spruce beetle epidemic.
With WyCEHG scientists and partners examining impacts on forests from bark beetle disturbance, researchers and managers will be better able to understand how forest ecology is changing and how to predict ecological changes in the future.
By: Elizabeth Nysson
Interview with Dr. Brent Ewers by Elizabeth Nysson on March 4, 2014.
“How much does a spruce beetle epidemic alter ecosystem carbon and water processes?” Department of Botany Seminar; John Frank, Ph.D. Student, Botany Department, PiE; Friday, February 28, 2014.
“Ecosystem CO2/H2O fluxes are explained by hydraulically limited gas exchange during tree mortality from spruce beetles.” (IN REVIEW: Journal Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences) John M. Frank, William J. Massman, Brent E. Ewers, Laurie S. Huckaby, José F. Negrón; U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 240 W. Prospect Road, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80526, USA; Department of Botany and Program in Ecology, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Avenue, Laramie, Wyoming, 82071, USA
“Western U.S. Bark Beetles and Climate Change.” Preparer: Barbara Bentz, FWE, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Western Bark Beetle Research Group (WBBRG). Accessed from: http://www.fs.fed.us/ccrc/topics/bark-beetles.shtml
Friday, February 28, 2014
Retta Hudlow, a sixth grade science teacher in Pinedale, Wyoming was one of the first teachers to use the CI-WATER Teaching Toolbox in her classroom.
The toolbox includes a manual with multiple lesson plans for various age groups and the equipment needed to conduct lessons and experiments in the manual. There are games, books, models and more to help students learn about everything from water modeling to human use and impact on water.
The toolbox is designed for Utah and Wyoming K-12 teachers, students and community groups. The experiments and lessons provided in the toolbox meet state education standards.
“The Next Generation Science Standards include standards on the water cycle, groundwater resources, human impact, modeling particle motion in different states, along with scientific and engineering processes,” says Retta. “The toolbox addresses many parts of these standards.”
The toolbox gave Retta an opportunity to add to the curriculum she was already teaching.
“I already had a unit on water and weather,” says Retta. “But this added more lessons on the properties of water, which were powerful teaching tools.”
Retta has enjoyed using the toolbox and knows that her students have learned a lot with their time using the toolbox.
“They have learned a great deal about water. Their pre- and post-test scores were impressive,” she says.
For more information about the toolbox, please visit the CI-WATER website or contact Beth Cable at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-766-3544.
By Robin Rasmussen
Photos by Kali McCrackin
Photos by Kali McCrackin
Friday, February 21, 2014
Wyoming EPSCoR works to expand research opportunities around Wyoming by building strong working relationships with Wyoming community college faculty and students.
“Wyoming EPSCoR supports community college researchers by increasing research capacity and encouraging innovation by educators and students,” says Liz Nysson, Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator for Wyoming EPSCoR.
The three community college programs Wyoming EPSCoR sponsors include the Community College Transition Program, the Community College Research Program, and the Community College STEM Summer Research Projects.
“With support from the National Science Foundation and the new Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics, we are able to expand and renew community college support.” says Liz.
The Community College Transition Program (CCTP) is for students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math who are transferring to the University of Wyoming to complete their undergraduate degrees. Awardees receive $1,500 per semester for two years and gain research experience. During the first semester, awardees rotate through several faculty labs and join a laboratory during the following semesters to complete an undergraduate research project with a faculty mentor. The application deadline for CCTP is April 1st, 2014 for the 2014 fall semester.
Community College Research Program (CCRP) is intended to encourage research initiatives for community college educators by providing multiple years of support. For the next three years, CCRP is in collaboration with the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG). Community college projects with a strong tie to WyCEHG research and those that would benefit from the use of WyCEHG equipment will be considered. The application deadline for pre-proposals is March 3rd at 5 p.m.
The Community College STEM Summer Research Projects (CC-STEM) aims to provide support to community college summer research projects with students. Research projects must be within a STEM-related field. CC-STEM recipients receive $7,000 for project and student support. The application deadline for the Community College STEM Summer Research Project is March 21st at 5 p.m.
If you are interested in applying for any of these programs, please visit our website or contact Rick Matlock (email@example.com) or Liz Nysson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
By Robin Rasmussen
Friday, February 14, 2014
Here is a list of interesting facts and figures about one thing we love here at EPSCoR: Water!
Water and us! Water is a crucial part of our everyday existence. Water makes up anywhere from 55-78% of a human’s body weight, making it literally a part of our lives! At birth, water accounts for roughly 80% of the infant’s weight.
People should drink water regularly. A person can drink about 48 cups (that is roughly 3 gallons) each day. By the time a person feels thirsty, his or her body has lost over 1 percent of its total water amount!
Water in the World! Freshwater only accounts for 3% of the water on earth. The remaining 97% is salt water. Of that small percentage of freshwater, 30% of it is groundwater and most of the world’s freshwater is found in glaciers.
Where you live can dictate how fast your water boils. Water boils faster in Denver, Colorado than in New York City. So, a mile high also means quicker tea water.
Happy Valentine’s Day to our most beloved Valentine, water.
By Robin RasmussenPhoto by Robin Rasmussen
Friday, February 7, 2014
As all residents know, winters in Wyoming can be brutally cold. Deep snow, strong winds, and freezing temperatures are a recipe for disaster for anyone caught unprepared.
To combat the dangers of winter weather in Wyoming, WyCEHG encourages its researchers to take classes and learn to be better prepared for winter conditions.
Elizabeth “ET” Traver facilitated two trainings last week providing WyCEHG researchers the tools they need to be prepared for many different winter conditions.
The first training was a snow safety training taught by Dan McCoy of the Outdoor Program. The training focused on avalanche safety, how to dress appropriately, and how to stay safe while outdoors. The second training focused on snowmobile use and safety.
“I have a protocol about how to use these snowmobiles,” says ET. “We went through it step by step, from how to hook up to the trailer, to how to get the snowmobiles on and off the trailer, to making sure that people always had their helmets on, so that they remembered, ‘this is an integral part of being on a snowmobile’”.
Much of the research underway by WyCEHG researchers requires them to hike into remote backcountry locations to take measurements and conduct other studies.
Because so much research happens in the mountains, trainings like these are crucial for the WyCEHG team members, for many reasons.
“We have more and more people out in the snow all day, doing all sorts of different research activities,” says ET. “Our objective is to try to give people some skills and some knowledge and get them thinking about how to stay safer while out in the snow.”
For more information about how to safe while in the snow, please visit the following websites:
By Robin Rasmussen
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Traver and Steve Holbrook
Monday, February 3, 2014
Elyn Saks, a law professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law spoke to students and faculty at the University of Wyoming via live video feed on Wednesday, January 29th.
Professor Saks addressed the group of nearly 100 participants about her experiences living with schizophrenia and her 2007 memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. After the discussion, Professor Saks answered questions from audience members.
"The presentation and book by Elyn Saks gave all of us new insights into mental illness. Her message was one of hope and activism: hope for people with mental illness that they can live up to their potential with active support from society," says Dr. Anne Sylvester, Wyoming EPSCoR Project Director. "Dr. Saks gave concrete suggestions for how the academic community can recognize and support students, colleagues and peers with mental illness. This is what disability awareness is all about and why Wyoming EPSCoR supports programs that promote disability awareness. Such new awareness would not be possible without hearing the courageous personal story shared by Dr. Saks.
As part of Wyoming EPSCoR’s Disability Awareness Program, EPSCoR aims to increase knowledge, awareness and accommodation of those with disabilities in STEM fields. To improve this awareness, EPSCoR brings scientists and other academics with disabilities to campus to give a public lecture and discuss ways to make programs more accommodating of a wide range of disabilities.
To learn more about Professor Saks and her experiences living with schizophrenia, be sure to watch her TED talk. For more information about the Wyoming EPSCoR Disability Awareness Program, please visit our website.
By Robin Rasmussen
Photos by Robin Rasmussen
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Elyn Saks, a law professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, will speak via live video feed at the University of Wyoming on Wednesday, January 29th. Professor Saks will discuss her experiences living with schizophrenia and her 2007 breakout book, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.
Prior to the live video conference, Wyoming EPSCoR and the Ellbogen Center for Learning and Teaching (ECTL) sponsored a book club to read and discuss Professor Saks’ book. Members of the book club came from various departments on campus, including Geology and Geophysics, Counseling, the College of Law and more.
The live video feed will take place in the Business Auditorium at 12:30 p.m. on January 29th. To view Professor Saks’ TED talk, click here. For more information regarding this event, please contact Sarah Konrad at email@example.com.
By Robin Rasmussen
Photos by Robin Rasmussen