Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory


Training citizen scientists July 11-12

Citizen scientistsIn this National Science Foundation-funded research experiment, CSU scientists from the university's Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory are studying the effectiveness of different training approaches - in-person and hands-on, online training, and online multimedia presentations.


Read more | Jun 29, 2009

Longer growing season as climate warms may not be the boon that was expected

Snow covered mountainA new evaluation by CSU researcher Heidi Steltzer from the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and colleague Eric Post from Penn State University of recent research indicates that many plant species are shortening their annual growth cycle in response to climate warming. Plants that are greening and flowering earlier are also ending growth earlier in the year.

A shortened period of growth may be a result of current environmental conditions, such as a mid-season drought in a warm summer, or could be the result of years of conditioning to past environmental conditions. Many species cannot extend the period over which they grow beyond a set number of days.

Read more | May 19, 2009

Africa-U.S. Higher Ed Initiative grant awarded to CSU and University of Nairob

Umbrella Thorn treeThe African Ecosystems and Societies Program in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University has been awarded a $50,000 Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative planning grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development and Higher Education for Development in Washington, D.C.

"The African Ecosystems and Societies Program at CSU will use this grant as a stepping stone to increase our collaborative relationships with African university partners, and foster increased collaboration in dryland research, education and outreach among African universities," said Niall Hanan, senior researcher scientist from CSU's Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory.

Read more | May 14, 2009

Scientists find bacteria and fungi actively grow in frozen Arctic tundra

Matt Wallenstein on the IceIn a new study published this spring, Colorado State University researchers from the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory have shown that both bacteria and fungi not only survive, but actively grow in the frozen Arctic tundra - a finding that has significant implications for life on cold planets such as Mars, and for the response of Arctic soils to global climate change.

"We know that microorganisms living in permanently frozen environments may have had thousands of years to adapt to those conditions, but what about microorganisms that live in environments that are only frozen for part of the year, such as the Arctic tundra soil? Are these microorganisms able to perform cellular maintenance or grow under frozen conditions?" said Shawna McMahon, co-author of the study and post-doctoral researcher in CSU's Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, or NREL.

Read more | May 04, 2009

Center for Collaborative Conservation awards Fellows

Big Thompson RiverColorado State University's Center for Collaborative Conservation awarded 17 fellowships as part of the center's fellows program that strengthens engagement among students, faculty and conservation practitioners by promoting collaborative research, education and action on critical conservation issues both locally and around the globe. The fellowships are 18-month appointments.

Sarah Maisonneuve
Maisonneuve is a doctorate student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University, working with Mike Coughenour, studying the conflict between humans and elephants outside Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. The aims of her research are to characterize and distinguish the areas where elephants leave protected area to raid farms and those where they do not, to determine whether their movements may be predicted by landscape quality, proximity to the protected area or proximity to known corridors. This fellowship will allow her to share her research findings with local Tanzanians who are most affected by this conflict. She will produce films, radio programs and written reports in both Kiswahili and English, which include general information about elephants, a description of the research project and its main conclusions and methods to mitigate human-elephant conflict in the area.

Joana Roque de Pinho
Roque de Pinho is a doctorate student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University, working with Kathy Galvin. Her doctorate research explores the coexistence of Kenyan Maasai pastoralists and wildlife from cultural, cognitive and economic perspectives. During her fellowship, she will return to her field site in the Amboseli ecosystem to share her research results with the three communities she worked with, and carry out a participatory photography exercise through which local participants will express how they perceive their coexistence with wildlife, as well as a community workshop to share these findings with policy-makers. She will also explore the possibility to involve local Christian pastors as partners in collaborative conservation. The fellowship products will include an exhibit of the photographs and associated stories and a film that will document the steps of this collaborative process.

Heidi Steltzer
Steltzer is a research scientist in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University, whose research is assessing the biological consequences of earlier snowmelt from desert dust deposition in alpine landscapes. For her fellowship, Steltzer will collaborate with the Mountain Studies Institute from Silverton, Colo. to create visualizations of the seasonality of Rocky Mountain alpine landscapes in the year 2020, if desert dust deposition remains high. These visualizations will take several forms, including photos, a slide show and a film, and will fulfill a stakeholder recommendation on an approach to communicate scientific results to stakeholders from a stakeholder-scientist conference on climate change in the San Juan Mountains that was hosted by the Mountain Studies Institute.

Read more | Apr 08, 2009