Paper No. 38-2
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM
BEETLE GENETIC VARIATION AS AN INDICATOR OF CLIMATE CHANGE, JUNEAU ICEFIELD, ALASKA
Nebria lituyae, a species of flightless beetle, have long colonized the seemingly uninhabitable glacial margins and nunataks of the Juneau Icefield, Alaska. However, very little is known about the ecology of this species in the rugged environments they inhabit. The purpose of this study is to build a better understanding of how cold adapted species respond to warming climates. While a few similar studies have been performed in the European Alps, North American studies are currently lacking. We plan to compare genetic testing results of Nebria on numerous nunataks within the Juneau Icefield to link the timing of their colonization to nunatak emergence caused by warming. Our preliminary results show that genetic variation exists between nunataks within a single icefield, suggesting that beetles colonize nunataks from multiple sources. This study will increase our knowledge of how cold adapted species survive and colonize in nunatak ecosystems, as well as further our understanding of how they can indicate past, present, and future climate change.