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UW Graduate Student Earns Grand Teton Fellowship

May 29, 2013
Woman walking in alpine area
University of Wyoming graduate student Susma Giri, recipient of the 2013 Boyd Evison Graduate Fellowship, is studying bumblebees in the greater Yellowstone area.

A University of Wyoming graduate student has been selected by Grand Teton National Park and the Grand Teton Association for the 2013 Boyd Evison Graduate Fellowship.

Susma Giri, the ninth recipient of an Evison Fellowship, is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology at UW. The Evison Graduate Fellowship began in 2005 to support advanced studies throughout the greater Yellowstone area.

Because Grand Teton National Park contains areas of largely undisturbed habitat, Giri plans to use her fellowship award to study bumblebees as critical pollinators in both natural and managed ecosystems, and to measure the potential effects of temperature and parasites on their decline. This research also will supplement limited data available on the distribution and abundance of native bee populations within the park.

Climate warming may shift bee ranges to higher elevations, with unknown effects on their thermal physiology or their susceptibility to parasites. Understanding the effects of recent and projected range shifts of native bees is crucial for development of appropriate management strategies that may conserve bee species and their colonies in the face of human-caused changes, Grand Teton officials say.

Giri completed high school in her hometown of Pokhara, Nepal, and joined the Institute of Forestry at Tribhuvan University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in 2011 that focused on the ecology and distribution of the Himalayan serow, a threatened ungulate living in Nepal’s protected mountainous areas. Her research findings were published in the 2011 World Journal of Zoology.

In January 2012, Giri entered UW as a doctoral student and began research on native bees from Laramie and from Grand Teton National Park. This study was supported by a UW/National Park Service research grant, and some of the results were recently presented at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in San Francisco. Giri is expected to graduate from UW with her Ph.D. in ecology by 2016.

The Evison Fellowship was established in memory of Boyd Evison after his death in October 2002 to honor his extensive and dedicated service to both the Park Service and the Grand Teton Association (GTA). Evison retired in 1994 after a 42-year career with the Park Service and soon after began a second career as executive director for GTA, a nonprofit park partner dedicated to aiding interpretive, educational and research programs for Grand Teton National Park.

The Evison Fellowship program encourages scientific and conservation-related research in national parks. It invites highly motivated graduate students to conduct research in Grand Teton and throughout the greater Yellowstone area; and it supports study leading to a master’s degree or Ph.D. in the biosciences, geosciences or social sciences.

An Evison Fellowship provides tuition assistance and a yearly stipend to cover travel and field research costs. Grand Teton National Park offers housing and office space for students during field sessions.

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