Tuesday, June 14, 2016


David Landolfi Blog

In today's meeting, the majority of our time was spent with Erin Saupe, a post-doc at Yale focused on Paleontology. She described the important work she has done, that she is doing, and the important concepts connected to them.  Erin focuses on determining migration models for various species, and she does this by determining an animal's tolerance to certain changes. The work that she conducts is becoming increasingly important in the society that we live in today, with the imminent threat of global warming and all actions connected to it. With the information that Erin collects, she will discover the exact effects a change in climate will have on animals. For example, there is one spider in the midwest that she researched, and it is projected to move north to states like Minnesota, due to the rising temperatures - this migration may occur as soon as 20 years from now. Although this may seem benign now, when species are forced to change their environments it may have adverse effects on other animals. Currently, Erin is doing research with shelled animals, such as mollusks. What happens to these animals in the future has a particular relevance to humans, because we rely very heavily on some of them. For example, we consume millions of oysters and clams annually, and with a shift in where they live or their abundance, it may critically affect the state of our economy. To predict how a species is going to react to future climate change, Erin uses a variety of techniques. From fossil records to geographic dispersion, Erin creates important models for these species, that help determine the state of our future ecosystems - as a result, we will be able to create the most effective solutions.

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