2017 Second Century Stewardship Science Research Fellows Alessio Mortelliti, Alysson Jackson, and CHRIS NADEAU (left to right). Photos used with permission.
Scientists Allyson Jackson, Alessio Mortelliti, and Chris Nadeau will spend the next 18 months conducting research through the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park in Maine as the second class of Second Century Stewardship Science Research Fellows.
Second Century Stewardship is a partnership between AAAS, Acadia, Schoodic, and the National Park Service, designed to create opportunities for engaging with and promoting the scientific canvas available within the national park system. The fellowship allows researchers to advance conservation and ecosystem science and provide information to support stewardship of park resources. The initiative plans to share their scientific research with visitors to the park and the public at large to advance science understanding and appreciation.
Nadeau, a graduate student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Connecticut, plans to catalog and study freshwater rock pools at Schoodic Point and use them as a model system to increase understanding of how climate change may affect biodiversity. This work will provide new opportunities for interpreters and visitors and provide baseline data to support long-term research into whether unique fauna will be lost from the park due to climate change. Nadeau also expects his work will contribute to global research attempting to understand how climate change will affect whole ecosystems.
Jackson, who will receive her Ph.D. from Oregon State University's Fisheries and Wildlife department this year, studies the food web interactions that influence mercury exposure in avian species. At Acadia National Park, she will examine the importance of emergent aquatic insects to riparian bird diversity. Specifically, she'll look at these birds' exposure to mercury contamination after consuming insects that emerge from the aquatic environment. She will use citizen scientists to collect data and track seasonal changes in both birds and bugs.
Mortelliti is Assistant Professor in Wildlife Habitat Conservation at the University of Maine, where his lab's research is focused on the impact of land-use change on vertebrate species (mammals and birds). Through his fellowship, he will study how seed predation (when seeds are damaged or made unusable by animals consuming them) may affect the successful dispersal of trees and shrubs and may limit their ability to expand into northern habitats in response to climate change. He hopes the results of the field experiments will allow managers to predict how local forest communities might change in the coming years as global warming causes new species to move north and take appropriate actions.
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