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

ers," said Williams. "As the alpine climate changes, one of the biggest impacts on humans will be a change in water resources. Even if we end up with the same amount of precipitation, in the form of less snow and more rain, we are going to end up with less usable water for municipalities."

There already are some indications that the snowline in the Rocky Mountains is moving upward, which will affect the abundance and distribution of plants and animals and likely shorten the annual ski seasons at resorts throughout the West in the future, he said.

The Niwot Ridge site is a huge benefit to CU-Boulder students, said Williams. "I have five undergraduates working in my chemistry lab this summer. Not only do they get paid, but they learn valuable research skills." The LTER grant funds research for about 15 CU-Boulder graduate students and 25 to 30 undergraduates annually, Williams said, and there are more than a dozen CU-Boulder faculty members that are co-investigators on the new Niwot Ridge LTER program grant.

CU-Boulder ecology and environmental biology department Professor William Bowman, director of CU-Boulder's Mountain Research Station for the past 20 years, said the Niwot Ridge site has been gaining momentum in stature from its beginnings by the consistent, high-quality research that has resulted in many publications in top-tier science journals.

More than half of the research on Niwot Ridge is by scientists and students from around the world that are not associated with the LTER program, said Bowman, also an INSTAAR fellow and who leads a team studying how air pollution, including nitrogen deposition, threatens biological and aquatic communities in U.S. national parks. There are currently 12 undergraduates conducting research at the Niwot Ridge site as part of the NSF's Research Experience for Undergraduates program, said Bowman, who also is mentoring a student researcher at Niwot Ridge from Fairview High School in Boulder.
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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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