GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 295-15
Presentation Time: 5:00 PM


ACOSTA, Katherine Nicole, National Park Service, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238 Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304,

The affects of climate change can be observed by monitoring certain species that are sensitive to changes in temperature. Environmental scientists often use butterflies as an indicator species for climate change. The life cycles of butterflies are highly dependent upon air temperatures. This, along with their geographic distribution make butterflies an ideal indicator species for climate change. While we do know Mount Rainier is expected to experience warmer summers and earlier snowmelt, this research depicts how Mount Rainier's species of butterflies are reacting to warmer climates. Data collected in 2015 shows snowmelt three weeks earlier than expected. Butterfly and plant phenology surveys of that same year reveal that both butterfly and plant flowering peaked earlier in the summer. While research is ongoing, we aspire to document any butterfly range shifts in responce to the changing climate in subalpine meadows of Mount Rainier.