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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA's Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment


Boelman-01 Project Profile
  (updated 08-Feb-2017)
Project Title:Animals on the move: Remotely based determination of key drivers influencing movements and habitat selection of highly mobile fauna throughout the ABoVE study domain
Project Lead: Natalie Boelman, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia Univ.
Project Funding: 2015 - 2019
NASA (agency representative: Eric Kasischke)
Project Type:NASA -- joined ABoVE in 2015
Solicitation:NASA: Terrestrial Ecology (2014)
Abstract: Arctic-Boreal regions (ABRs) of North America are warming at a rate almost three times higher than the global average, and the biophysical responses are acute. Most regional scale studies to date have explored consequences on biogeochemical cycling and energy balance. Far less attention has been paid to the vulnerability and resilience of wildlife ... [more]
ABoVE Science Questions
  • Flora and Fauna
ABoVE Science Objectives: Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Microbes, Plants, Animal Interactions
  • Snow Impacts
  • Changes to Fish and Wildlife Habitat
ABoVE Disciplinary Theme
  • Wildlife and Ecosystem Services
Participants: Project Lead(s):Co-Investigator(s):Post-Doc(s):Student-Graduate(s):Collaborator(s):Participant(s):

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Proposed Fieldwork Schedule:2016-SP
  • Wildlife
    • Position (robin)
Sites/Measurements Map:
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Status: In-Progress Date When Available:
Product Title:  Maps of probability of habitat use over the ABoVE Study Domain for all groups of study animals (caribou, wolf, moose, golden eagle, robin, bear)
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Status: In-Progress Date When Available:
Product Title:  Mapped projections of future wildlife movement and habitat selection for all groups of studied animals (caribou, wolf, moose, golden eagle, robin, bear) within the ABoVE study domain (present day to 2100)
Expected Users:  
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Publications: Hebblewhite, M. 2017. Billion dollar boreal woodland caribou and the biodiversity impacts of the global oil and gas industry. Biological Conservation. 206, 102-111. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.12.014

Outreach Actvities: Mar 7, 2016 Presentation to Elementary Students Presenter: Natalie Boelman 'Lamont Doherty Scientist Talks to Students about Bird Migration and Climate Change' by Mrs. Levine Mar 7, 2016 Students at Cottage Lane Elementary School had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Natalie Boelman, an Earth Scientist at Lahmont – Doherty Earth Observatory. Her presentation was meant to inform the students about her work as an Earth Scientist, and give some background knowledge to the students who will looking at and studying the data from the expedition on which she is about to embark. The main goal of her project is to understand how movement and habitat selection of the American Robin may change because of climate change in the Arctic and Boreal regions of North America. She explained that her team is going to go up to northern Alberta in April to catch about 30 American robins that are on their way to northern breeding grounds for the summer. Once caught, using a mist net, they will attach mini GPS tags to them, and then release them to finish their migration northward to breed on the tundra or in the boreal forest. The mini GPS tags they will carry will ‘automagically’ upload the exact location of each bird every day to a satellite network system called ARGOS, and then ARGOS will send the locations to the scientists. In other words, they can track where the robins are in real time. Each of the 4th and 5th grade classes will get to name one of the 30 birds. Dr. Boelman will take a picture of the bird, and attach the name to its GPS signal so that students can use the app Animal Tracker to follow where their bird is heading. Since NASA is funding this project, Dr. Boelman is able to use satellite data from other satellites to find out factors that may affect the bird’s flight patterns. For instance, she showed the students a slide that compared a map of where wildfires were taking place to the flight of a bird, to show that the bird took a path to avoid the fires. Her team is looking at a variety of factors that may affect the birds, such as warming climates allowing new insect species to survive in the boreal forest, the shifting in seasonal conditions which affect plant life, and the increase or decrease of water in certain areas. When she returns to speak to the students in the fall she will be able to use these other satellite images to help explain to the group of students why their birds made the migration choices that they did. A very brief summary of the project can be found here: Project Profile. Dr. Boelman’s project is part of a larger research project part of a much larger, NASA effort called The Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (aka. ABoVE). You can read about ABoVE here where you can learn more about ABoVE, and all the projects that are a part of it. By Samantha Levine, Instructional Science Coach Blog

NEWSLETTER #1 Animals on the Move

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