Utah’s iconic red rock arches have been formed over millennia by geologic movement, erosion, and gravity. But these formations are not static, and environmental forces continue to affect these natural wonders.
Dr. Jeff Moore, Associate Professor, Geology and Geophysics, heads the Geohazards Research Group, which seeks to understand how arches respond to changes in their environment, and how the strength of these structures change over time.
The National Park Service provides partial support for the research Moore’s group undertakes. Click through to read “Studying the Fate of Arches.”
An interdisciplinary cohort of GCSC faculty joined government researchers and community partners over Fall Break for a week-long trip down the Colorado River to explore environmental change in Cataract Canyon. It was an exceptional immersive week integrating geology, hydrology, ecology, art, philosophy, history, policy, education, recreation, and more in Utah’s spectacular wilderness redrock river landscape.
The goals of this field trip included discussing research and educational opportunities along Cataract Canyon, exploring use of the river as an experiential classroom, promoting awareness of Colorado River issues, and collecting data that catalogues the dramatic changes occurring in Cataract Canyon.
Lake Powell flooded Glen Canyon and half of Cataract Canyon at its maximum elevation. Since 2000, lake elevation dropped 120 ft due to a complex combination of water management, drought and climate change. Low lake elevation has cascading effects, including the reemergence of rapids, the re-establishment of riparian ecosystems, and changes in sediment deposition. One goal of the trip is to help catalog ongoing environmental changes by developing repeatable measurements of change.
UU faculty and researcher participants included Wendy Wischer (Art & Art History), Bill Brazelton and Susan Bush (Biology), Sarah Hinners (City & Metropolitan Planning), Lauren Barth-Cohen (Education), Jennifer Follstad Shah (Geography), Danya Rumore (Law), and Brenda Bowen and Pete Lippert (Geology & Geophysics).
GCSC affiliate Dave Bowling, Professor of Biology, studies ecosystem ecology. His research focuses on how organisms in their natural habitats are affected by biological and physical factors, and how these organisms in turn modify their environment.
Bowling is part of a team whose recent study shows how satellite technology enables researchers to better measure CO2 uptake of evergreen forests. This knowledge will enable scientists to better understand how forests are responding to climate change and to better predict responses to future climate change.
Read more here https://unews.utah.edu/forest-glow/
GCSC faculty affiliate Jennifer Follstad Shah, assistant professor in the Environmental & Sustainability Studies program and research assistant professor in geography, joined with researchers from 40 countries in an effort to better understand how climate effects river ecosystems. Read about the massive project in U News.
The Ecological Society of America has elected three of our affiliated faculty in recognition of their contributions to the science of ecology. To read more about the contributions of Fred Adler, Departments of Mathematics and Biology, Phyllis Coley, Department of Biology, and Bill Anderegg, Department of Biology, go to this UNews article,