This is a blog about Wyoming EPSCoR, the projects we do and the grants we are working on. From student internship programs, to grant work, to research, we're sharing our news and stories for our community to read and share. Thank you for visiting our site!
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
SRAP Student Spotlight: Joshua Snider and Desert Fires
SRAPer: Joshua Snider
Home state: Utah
Grade in school: Senior
Plans for after high school: Attend a university, studying geology
As a child, Joshua Snider had an unusual interest that set
him apart from other children.
“I’ve just always liked rocks,” says Joshua. “Since I was a
kid, I’d pick up a piece of gravel and think it was interesting.”
Joshua’s interest in rocks has led him to want to pursue a
degree in geology after he graduates from high school. His experience working
in the SRAP program will be a great opportunity for him, as he is working in
the Paleoecology Lab in the Geography department with Dr. Tom Minckley.
“We’re working on fire history for the Cuatrocienegas Basin
in Mexico,” says Joshua. “We’re taking samples from a nearly 5 meter long
sediment core and counting the amount of charcoal that’s in it as well as what
other materials were in it at the time to determine if it was wetter or drier in
the past to determine when there were and weren’t fires.”
The research that Joshua is doing will play an important role
in understanding the impact of fires in deserts.
“It’s important because at the biodiversity hotspot, there
were 70 endemic species,” Joshua says. “So we want to find out why they’re only
there, and how fire affects them and their environment.”
Not only is this research extremely important to many
different species, but it’s also an interesting topic to Joshua.
“My favorite part is probably getting to look at the
different things in sediment,” says Joshua. “Find out what there was in the
past, look at the shells and seeds and other stuff in the samples.”
By studying the sediment and looking at what it is composed
of, Joshua and Dr. Minckley are able to create an environmental history of this
particular point of the North American continent, which allows them to better
understand the world we live in today.
“The project we’re working on here goes back about 5,000
years, and that gets into the societally relevant time period of the desert
being formed as it is, and how these disturbed patterns might have affected
these modern ecosystems,” says. Dr. Minckley. “It really helps the management
and restoration of this protected area.”
Joshua’s experience with SRAP will give him a unique and
challenging opportunity to gain knowledge and experience working in a field
that he loves.