From wildfires to heavy storms that bring flash floods, weather extremes from year-to-year that stem from climate change are impacting the region’s wildlife, according to a local scientist.
The Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Program, based in Central New Mexico, was just awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to study the long-term effects on our environment.
Jennifer Rudgers, who leads that team, said the more unstable the weather becomes, the harder life gets for animals and plants.
"Whether you’re a local farmer or a preserve manager, we need to know how the ecology of these southwestern ecosystems is gonna change," Rudgers said.
Living things struggle when their environment changes so drastically, says Rudgers, because they can’t always rely on the same sources of food, water, and shelter.
Researchers will use the $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to look at the impact on New Mexico’s environment as the state swings between sudden precipitation and harsh drought.
The team works out of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge just north of Socorro.
Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the Con Alma Health Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.