Centennial Science Behind The Scenery Programs At Rocky Mountain National Park

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Date: June 23, 2015
Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363

Numerous scientists will be presenting as part of the Centennial Science Behind The Scenery Programs at Rocky Mountain National Park. This series of programs highlights scientific activity and learning in the park. Each week a different scientist conducting research in the park will share their experiences and discoveries. The programs will be held on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and are free and open to the public.

This Thursday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. join Scott Franklin as he discusses Aspen Forests - Changes Over The Last 40 Years. Franklin's talk will discuss the ecology of aspen and how that affects their dominance in Colorado forests. Dr. Franklin studies disturbance and vegetation dynamics, having received his PhD in 1996 from Southern Illinois University. His current research examines long-term changes in Front Range forests, classification of the Pawnee National Grassland vegetation communities, response of aspen to disturbance, and plant competition.

Aspen forests generally hold more water in their soil, have more soil nutrients, and have more species of plants in their understory than conifer forests. For these reasons, public land managers want to maintain aspen forests. However, aspen rarely reproduce from seed in Colorado. Instead, they are clonal and reproduce from their roots. Thus, it is unclear how they will increase over time, and several studies suggest aspen stands are decreasing in Colorado.

Next Thursday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m. join Brittany Mosher as she discusses A Tale Of Toads In Rocky Mountain National Park. Worldwide, over 40 percent of amphibian species are in decline. Declines are related to a variety of factors including habitat destruction and disease. Amphibians in Rocky Mountain National Park have not been immune to these problems. Of the five species of amphibians historically present in the park, two, including the boreal toad, have suffered severe declines. Once common throughout high elevation areas in Colorado, the boreal toad is currently endangered in the state of Colorado and is being considered for federal listing as a threatened or endangered species.

In this look "behind the scenes," Brittany will share recent research findings on the effects of disease and introduced species on boreal toad populations. She has a Master's of Science degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please call the park's information office at (970) 586-1206.

Last updated: June 24, 2015

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1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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