Explore NABS

Climate change affects the ecology of the northern Rocky Mountains

Published On: 9/23/2014

 A recent NPR report described the northern Rocky Mountains as "the crown of the continent." The jewels of the crown are the glaciers and snowfields - and they are melting.

 
The relationship between water and ecology in the northern Rocky Mountains is being altered as the climate warms. Ric Hauer explained that spring snowmelt is starting earlier, and summer drought is becoming increasingly likely. Glaciers are shrinking and permanent streams are becoming ephemeral. Researchers have begun to understand the effects of these climate changes on wildlife. Joe Giersch from the US Geological Survey has been studying the stonefly, Lednia tumana, its role in the food web, and how populations are being squeezed up to the top of the mountain as glaciers melt. Further downstream at the Flathead Lake Biological Station, Jack Stanford reports that the effects of flash floods due to changes in seasonal weather patterns are observed in the food web. For example, salmon populations can be decimated by “rain on snow events” that cause floods, removing young salmon from the stream. These changes to the natural ecosystem are threatening some species and also affecting ranchers and farmers who have endured extended drought conditions.

Find out more about Joe Girsch in the latest In The Drift newsletter: https://www.freshwater-science.org/Other-Publications/Newsletter--In-The-Drift/ITD--Fall-2014.aspx#itdqna


Listen to the NPR report: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/27/341372550/theres-a-big-leak-in-americas-water-tower


Research paper:
Muhlfeld, Clint C, J. Joseph Giersch, F. Richard Hauer, Gregory T. Pederson, Gordon Luikart, Douglas P. Peterson, Christopher C. Downs, and Daniel B. Fagre. 2011. Climate change links fate of glaciers and an endemic alpine invertebrate. Climatic Change Letters. 106 (2), pp 337-345




 




Share this:
What's New
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 26: Carbon Fates, Dr. Erin Hotchkiss more
  • Fall 2017 Issue of In the Drift now available! more
  • September 2017 Issue of Freshwater Science now online more
  • Does Cultural Diversity Matter to Scientific Societies? Read the President's Environment more
  • SFS Student Presentation Awards! more
  • In the drift just fell into your sampler! The Spring 2015 Newsletter is here! more
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 14: Nitrogen Fixation in a Warming World, Dr. Jill Welter more
BENTHOS News
  • The deadline to submit proposals for AQUATROP Special Sessions or Symposiums is now November 17, 2017

    more
  • SFS joins CASS in condemning silencing of EPA scientists

    more
  • Andy Leidolf appointed as SFS Executive Director

     

    more
  • VOTING CLOSED - SFS LOGO CONTEST VOTE!

    Over 60 logos were submitted by 28 individuals and narrowed to 3 finalists. Now is your chance to select the winner.

    more
  • SFS signs two letters sent to the US EPA regarding the Trump Administration's proposed revisions to the Waters of the US rule



    more

More SFS News...

Back to Top
NABS Logo
© 2015 Society for Freshwater Science
Membership Services:
(435) 797-9270 | sfsmembership@usu.edu