UNBC Student Receives Fellowship for Climate Change Research

September 12, 2011

A student at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) is receiving a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) for her work studying the effect of climate change on a species of tree vital to northern vegetation and wildlife. UNBC Natural Resources and Environmental Studies PhD student Alana Clason’s research will examine how climate change influences the northern-most populations of whitebark pine in the coastal and Rocky Mountains.

“Whitebark pine is a critical, and yet threatened and declining tree among BC’s northern forests. It’s considered a ‘keystone’ species because it supports a wide food web that includes grizzly bears, squirrels, and Clark’s Nutcracker birds, the latter of which are vital for spreading its seeds,” says Clason, who lives in Smithers and is an active member and researcher with the Bulkley Valley Research Centre. “Its ability to persist in harsh mountain environments and compete with other trees will be affected by climate, so understanding how it’s responding to changing climate in BC’s north is very important for management and restoration strategies.”

Clason will receive $10,000 for her fellowship this year and $18,000 next year. She adds to the two other PICS fellowships currently held by UNBC students:
  • Matt Beedle - researching the effect of climate change on western Canada’s glaciers
  • Ian Picketts - researching climate change adaptation among BC municipalities, including the development of a preparation strategy for Prince George
The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, hosted and led by the University of Victoria in partnership with BC's other research-intensive universities (Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Northern British Columbia), pulls together the intellectual capital of the province into a dynamic knowledge network that integrates multi-disciplinary approaches to climate change.

“Finding solutions for mitigating or adapting to the impacts of climate changes is one of PICS key objectives,” says PICS Executive Director Tom Petersen in a September 12 media release. “These successful candidates will be instrumental in continuing that momentum.”
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Alana Clason
Alana Clason
Click to view a media release from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.
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