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Alpine Streams Topic of July 27 UW Research Center Talk

July 21, 2017
Deb Finn
Deb Finn, Missouri State University stream ecologist assistant professor, will discuss the importance of alpine streams on ecosystems Thursday, July 27, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service Research Center in Grand Teton National Park. (Deb Finn Photo)

The importance of alpine streams on the ecosystem will be discussed Thursday, July 27, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.

Deb Finn, Missouri State University stream ecologist assistant professor, will present “Tetons alpine streams: unsung heroes of diversity and vulnerability” as part of the center’s Harlow Summer Seminars at 6:30 p.m. at the AMK Ranch, located north of Leeks Marina. A barbecue, at a cost of $5 per person, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are not required.

Alpine streams are the highest-elevation headwaters of major river basins such as the Mississippi and Columbia. Unique ecosystems in their own right, alpine streams support a diversity of animals, plants and microbes that thrive in cold conditions with short seasonal windows of opportunity for growth and reproduction, Finn says.

“Most alpine streams rely on meltwater from various sources -- including glaciers, snowpack and subterranean ice -- with each source type generating a unique set of environmental conditions to which the local fauna and flora are adapted,” she says.

Finn will present an overview of alpine stream ecology from a worldwide perspective, then discuss ongoing research in the Teton mountain range. She will emphasize conservation concerns associated with climate change and the possibility of climate refugia to help alpine biodiversity ride out the worst of this storm.

Her ongoing research is in high-alpine stream ecosystems, such as those above treeline in the Tetons. She has studied climate change impacts on alpine streams in mountain ranges of both North America and Europe, and is part of a team of researchers working to understand ecology and environmental change in Tetons alpine streams.

The UW-NPS Research Center provides a base for university faculty members and government scientists from throughout North America to conduct research in the diverse aquatic and terrestrial environments of Grand Teton National Park and the greater Yellowstone area.

For more information about the Harlow Summer Seminars, contact Michael Dillon at (307) 543-2463 or

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