Ellsworth American talks with Mortelliti about Acadia project

The Ellsworth American reported that Alessio Mortelliti, an assistant professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation, will be conducting climate change research in Acadia National Park this summer. Mortelliti’s research is aimed at helping Acadia protect its resources, build the public’s appreciation for science and delve into critical issues facing national parks and society, according to the article. “The results of our field experiments will allow managers to predict how local forest communities might change in the coming years and thus allow them to take the appropriate actions in time,” Mortelliti said. His lab, which focuses on the effects of land use change on mammals and birds, will look at the northward movement of plant species as temperatures increase. Many plant species, he said, reach their northern limit just south of Acadia and are expected to shift northward into the park. He will use replicated field experiments to gain insights into which tree species may expand northward successfully. Mortelliti also will explore how rodents play a role in which plant species successfully colonize the park. His fellowship is with the Second Century Stewardship program; Mortelliti will receive research support, housing at the Schoodic Institute and science communication training.