UMaine Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Park Service Grant

A University of Maine graduate student has received a prestigious National Park Service grant to study climate change in Glacier National Park.

Krista Slemmons, a Ph.D. student in ecology and environmental sciences and the Climate Change Institute, was one of 11 nationwide recipients of the 2011 National Park Service George Melendez Wright Climate Change Fellowship.

Slemmons will use the $12,372 grant to investigate how climate-induced changes in alpine glaciers alter phytoplankton communities and lake habitats in Glacier National Park, which is located in northwest Montana. In the first year of the grant, she will examine historical aerial photos of glaciers from the park’s archive to identify lakes in watersheds that have lost glaciers. In July 2012, Slemmons will spent 10 days in the park taking lake sediment core samples and looking at the changes in algae over time to determine if algal changes are related to the loss of glaciers.

The goals of the fellowship program are to support new and innovative research on climate change impacts to protected areas, such as national parks, and to increase the use of scientific knowledge to further resource management in parks.

National Park Service and non-federal experts reviewed the proposals.

Slemmons’ doctoral research involves the influence of glacial meltwater runoff, nitrogen in the atmosphere, and climate change on communities of microscopic organisms in alpine and arctic lakes. An advisee of UMaine associate professor Jasmine Saros, Slemmons examines how aquatic biodiversity in these lakes has changed through time.

She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Denison University and master’s degrees from Wright State and Miami University of Ohio.

Contact: Krista Slemmons,; Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777