Environmental change shows itself in countless small ways. Engage your powers of observation to discover these signs in one of the world’s most fragile and beautiful places.
In the high slopes of the French Pyrenees, as in other mountain regions, climate change has already begun to alter the landscape. Some species are moving to higher latitudes, and some have begun to decline. The ways humans use the land also causes shifts in the nature order of things, but little research has been done on how people have impacted this particular place. Questions of how climate change and human encroachment will continue to alter this alpine world are far from being answered.
While trekking through this striking landscape, you’ll be among the first to search for these answers. Not much is known about the amazing biodiversity of the forests and alpine meadows, and your team will help identify the key species in the ecosystem and how they are changing. You will weigh and measure small mammals, find tawny owls and other bird species by spotting their nests and listening for their songs, observe bumblebees as they visit flowering plants, and detect bats. These tasks will help researchers find out how animals are faring and when natural events, like plant flowering and pollination, are occurring. Understanding the timing of such processes can help scientists learn if species’ life cycles are becoming out of synch with each other, which could have serious consequences for the health of this ecosystem.