Sagebrush Steppe Vulnerability to Climate Change

Cynthia Brown, Cameron Aldridge, Jeff Morisette and Dennis Ojima

Description:The 1 credit hour course will take a multidisciplinary approach to studying the vulnerability of sagebrush steppe ecosystems to the effects of climate change. We will first build a foundation of understanding of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem and climate predictions for region. Then, informed by land managers collaborating with us, students will work in small teams to develop portions of a vulnerability assessment. Two topics of particular interest are greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and cheatgrass (downy brome, Bromus tectorum) and how they will be affected by projected climate variation and directional change. Other topics are possible, especially if land manager needs indicate their importance. The course is one node of a distributed graduate seminar being led by Peter Adler at Utah State University, which was first taught in 2012 and has nodes across the country. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the Department of Interior "Vulnerability Assessment under Climate Change" (VA_CC) class in Jackson, WY October 9-11. The students who do will report back to the rest of the class and will earn one (1) additional academic credit hour for their work. All students should initially register for 1 credit and it will be determined before the drop/add period ends which students will take the 2 credit option.

Section: 4
Credits: 1
Restrictions: With permission of instructors
First Meeting: 8/26/2013
Meeting Times: To be arranged. Probably Thursdays
Classroom: E005 Plant Sciences
CRN: 60565
Cross Listed: no
Enrollment Limit: 20
Background: There are no specific background requirements other than an interest in sagebrush steppe ecosystems can climate change. GIS skills will be beneficial.
Course Text: Primary literature, which will be provided by the instructors
Instructor Contact Info:
      Cynthia Brown 970-491-1949
      Cameron Aldridge
      Jeff Morisette and Dennis Ojima