OPS 2 - Diversity and Biodiversity: How Students Connected Ecosystem Services, Citizen Science, and Biodiversity in the National Parks

Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM
Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center
Sarah E. Whipple, Colorado State University Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory
In the spring of 2016, 50 college students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds traveled to Bandelier National Monument, North Cascades National Park, San Juan National Monument, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park for the 2016 National Park Service (NPS) Centennial BioBlitzes and Rocky Mountain Sustainability and Science Network (RMSSN). As the RMSSN academy states: “The Rocky Mountain Sustainability and Science Network brings together federal and state agencies, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations to collaborate in research relevant to sustainability and develop a diverse population of students into leaders prepared to address complicated issues. These individuals will be prepared to lead from a solid understanding of the sciences that underlie sustainability.” By the end of the academy, students will have had real world field experiences dealing with the sustainability and the ecological integrity of public lands.

The question for RMSSN this year was: how are pollinators in a given area transforming over time with regards to the changes in the local environment? Much of the data collected was in correlation with the NPS Centennial BioBlitz efforts, which educate citizens and scientists about the biodiversity in the National Parks. Students performed multiple transects in the Parks to measure pollinators and flower abundance, and later uploaded species information to NPS projects on the citizen science application iNaturalist. In addition to the pollinator data gathered, students also looked at the historical and cultural significance of these public lands, comparing past cultures to those of the present. This information was analyzed through photo points provided by the Parks and interviews conducted between students and NPS visitors. Through this research, students analyzed the connection between ecosystem services and biodiversity in the changing systems of the National Parks, and these connections will be shared to conference participants through a series of five posters.

These posters will provide an understanding to others about the importance of the BioBlitz efforts in biodiversity projects, as well as the significance of student participation in the National Parks. Many students who attended RMSSN had never participated in ecological research, nonetheless had visited a National Park, so this opportunity gave many a glance into fieldwork and NPS research. RMSSN has provided students a great chance to learn and discover more about the connections between biodiversity and cultural diversity, and our poster session will share this discovery with others.

 Engaging students in citizen science and biodiversity
Sarah E. Whipple, Colorado State University Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory; Kenneth Choi, University of Hawaii; Pacifica (Kitrea) Takata-Glushkoff, Bowdoin College
 Cultural ecosystem services in the National Parks
Hector Alvarez, Humboldt State University; Tatum Van Dam, Colorado State University; Lucyna Bowland, University of Colorado Denver; Autumn Harry, University of Nevada Reno
 The importance of supporting ecosystem services through pollinators in a National Park
Ben Havlicek, University of Wisconsin; Mahin Jalalkhan, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Anne Le Mat, AgroSup Dijon
 Conveying the message to citizens: BioBlitzes and StoryMaps
Michelle Bahnick, Western Washington University; Gregory Lujano, Texas A&M Kingsville
 BioBlitzes: Linking ecosystem services and citizen science into 24 hours
Parker Hopkins, University of Colorado Boulder; Nathan Tolle, Kansas State University; Mariana Rodriguez-Gonzalez, University of Yucatan; Sarah E. Whipple, Colorado State University Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory