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Published June 26, 2018
An ecologist will discuss a butterfly species that may provide a window into understanding how climate change may be affecting the world’s mountain ecosystems at the University of Wyoming National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center Thursday, July 5. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.
Diane Debinski, professor and head of the Department of Ecology at Montana State University, will discuss the parnassius butterflies that lay eggs each year in the Tetons midsummer and how they affect montane ecosystems.
Debinski will speak 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. The talk is part of the weekly Harlow Summer Seminars series.
Montane meadows are diverse and productive, with plant communities, and are an important food source for a diverse group of herbivores, from small insect pollinators to large mammals. Debinski says montane systems may be most sensitive to climate change.
“Temperature increases associated with climate change will likely lead to a decrease in the duration of snow cover, and this change could have a significant effect on the ecology of these systems,” she says.
For the last 25 years, Debinski and her colleagues have been researching parnassius butterflies and the flowering plants they use for nectar in the Tetons. She teaches conservation biology, landscape ecology and restoration ecology. Her research includes biodiversity preservation, and the ecological effects of habitat fragmentation and climate change.
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.
Formerly called the AMK Ranch Talk Series, the Harlow Summer Seminars program is named after retired UW Department of Zoology and Physiology Professor Hank Harlow, who helped make the UW-NPS Research Center a significant center for research and community outreach. Harlow began the popular weekly public seminars during the summer months.
For more information about the Harlow Summer Seminars, contact Michael Dillon at (307) 314-9833 or Michael.Dillon@uwyo.edu.