Park Science Unveiled At Rocky Mountain National Park Biennial Research Conference

Wondering what sorts of scientific research is under way at Rocky Mountain National Park? Plan on attending the park's biennial reseach conference late this month in Estes Park, Colorado.

The conference is scheduled for March 28 and 29th. It will bring together more than 100 researchers who have a range of projects under way in the national park.

Throughout the year there are more than 100 projects under way in the park. The researchers come from other federal agencies, the State of Colorado and universities from around the world. On top of that, last year, citizen scientists volunteered thousands of hours to research projects. In addition, hundreds of students each year participate in field data collections and lab analysis.

During the conference at the Estes Park Town Hall more than 100 scientists are expected to attend this two-day meeting to discuss a variety of research projects.

Each researcher will have 20 minutes to make a presentation on their project. Talks are organized into sessions covering related subjects.

On Wednesday, March 28th, the sessions will focus on Water, Air and Soil; Plants and Social Science. Morning sessions in water, air and soil will include talks on nitrogen pollution and its effects on mountain lakes, carbon storage in mountain streams and nutrient transport in tundra soils.

The afternoon vegetation session will include an exploration of the effects of mountain pine beetle-caused tree mortality on mountain streams and possible causes of willow decline. The afternoon social science sessions will examine park communications and visitor perceptions of issues such as wildlife management, climate change and alternative transportation.

The Thursday sessions will include Wildlife, a Mixed Topic session, and a special session on International Conservation. The morning wildlife session speakers will explore chronic wasting disease in elk, population genetics of bighorn sheep and the status of pika, ptarmigan, butterflies and hummingbirds in the park. The morning mixed topic section will include talks on geology, landslides, and Native American wickiups.

The afternoon international conservation session will include observations and research results from Rocky Mountain's sister parks in the Tatras of Poland and Slovakia, and the wildlands surrounding our sister city, Monteverde, in Costa Rica.

In addition to presentations, 14 posters on a rich variety of subjects will be presented during a morning poster session on Thursday morning.

The conference is free and open to all interested members of the community. No registration is required. The conference begins on Wednesday, March 28, at 8:30 a.m. Sessions will end by 4 p.m. each day.

You can find a complete schedule of the proceedings at this site.

The Town Board Room is in the Estes Park Municipal Building, 170 MacGregor Avenue.