The Northeast Connection

Fall colors

Earlier this semester I became a Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC) fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After a great experience being a Southeast Climate Science Center (SE CSC) fellow at North Carolina State University, I feel very fortunate to continue working with CSC affiliated scientists. Part of my dissertation examines molting and camouflage of snowshoe hares across their distribution range. Alexej Siren, a PhD student and NE CSC fellow advised by Dr. Toni Lyn Morelli and Dr. Mary Ratnaswamyset up an extensive camera trap monitoring  network across Vermont and New Hampshire to describe occupancy and range shifts of boreal mammals.

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Image 1: Alexej on top of his truck, ready to go set up a snow measuring stake at a camera trap in the CT Lakes Natural Area, NH

Besides moose, bears, lynx, fisher and martens, he’s been getting a lot of hare photos. He kindly shares them, which enables us to describe hare molt phenology and mismatch across large scales. With the help of another NE CSC fellow, Dr. Alex Bryan, we use high resolution climate datasets to connect mismatch to changing temperatures and snow cover. Ultimately, we hope to get a better idea about the vulnerability of snowshoe hares to climate change across North America; another set of hare photos I work with is being provided by our collaborators in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and the Canadian Rockies. 

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Image 2: Flying snowshoe hares as captured by camera traps in NH. Photo: Alexej Siren

To date we have hare and snow data from over 70 camera locations within New England that have been continuously taking pictures since 2014. Last weekend, I helped Alexej service a few in the White Mountains and Connecticut Lakes Natural Area in New Hampshire. Other than thousands of new photos, we enjoyed wonderful fall colors. I look forward to adding the new color data to our dataset and when ready share our results with the rest of the world.

I’m not only excited to learn so much from the people I work with and the entire NE CSC group, but also to get out to the field a bit in between analyzing data and writing my dissertation. Thank you NE CSC for appointing me and for sharing your expertise and data with me. I’m really excited to work with you and learn from you.

Marketa Zimova, PhD Candidate

 

Feature Image:  Beautiful fall colors in the White Mountains