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NSF awards CU-Boulder $5.9 million grant for alpine ecosystem research
Date:6/16/2011

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Colorado Boulder a six-year, $5.9 million grant to continue intensive studies of long-term ecological changes in Colorado's high mountains, both natural and human-caused, over decades and centuries.

Awarded to CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, the renewal grant will allow faculty and students, including undergraduates, to continue key environmental studies at the Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research, or LTER, site west of Boulder. The study site, considered extremely sensitive to climate change, is adjacent to CU-Boulder's Mountain Research Station and encompasses several thousand acres of tundra, talus slopes, glacial lakes and wetlands stretching to the top of the Continental Divide.

The grant is the largest environmental sciences award in CU-Boulder history, said INSTAAR Fellow Mark Williams, principal investigator on the grant. In 2005, NSF awarded CU-Boulder a $4.9 million renewal grant for environmental studies at the Niwot Ridge site. As one of five initial LTER sites selected by NSF in 1980, Niwot Ridge is now one of 25 such sites in North America and the only one located in an alpine environment, said Williams.

"CU-Boulder has a worldwide reputation for monitoring global climate change from Greenland to Antarctica and its impacts on natural ecosystems and human populations," said Vice Chancellor for Research Stein Sture. "To direct such a key program in our own backyard for the National Science Foundation is crucial from an environmental science standpoint and unique in that it provides a spectacular training ground for our students to work side-by-side with some of the world's best climate change scientists."

Recent climate studies have predicted the mountainous areas of the American West will become both hotter and drier in the coming years, and long-term meteorological measurements on Niwot Ridge indicate the alpine climate
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Contact: Mark Williams
markw@snobear.colorado.edu
303-492-8830
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert  

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NSF awards CU-Boulder $5.9 million grant for alpine ecosystem research
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