2013 Grants Awarded
A Survey of the Species Composition and Distribution of Bryophilous Tardigrades in the High Desert Environments of Western Colorado and Eastern Utah – Awarded $2,993.00
Dr. Aparna D.~Nageswaran Palmer
Professor, Biological Sciences
COLORADO MESA UNIVERSITY
Overall Goals of the Proposed Project
The proposed project has several distinct and interrelated goals: (1) To conduct a survey of tardigrades present in the high desert environments of Western Colorado and Eastern Utah by extracting specimens from the desert mosses distributed within these areas; (2) To collect morphological data on the microscopic specimens using dissection, compound, and scanning electron microscopes; (3) To use these data to identify the species that are present in these areas and describe new species (if appropriate); and (4) to collect preliminary molecular genetic data on these species to enable molecular identifications (DNA barcoding) and advance the future goal of understanding the evolution of these organisms and their traits via molecular phylogenetic analysis.
2012 Grants Awarded
The Wilderness Society proposed to employ a simple and rapid “expert opinion” assessment of potential impacts of key roads and trails on rare plant habitat around the Palisade Wilderness Study Area near Gateway, Colorado. Botanists who have conducted rare plant surveys in the Gateway area will meet on site with additional biology and conservation planning staff who are familiar with impending land management decisions.
Using prior survey information and reports, and on-site review and discussion, this group will identify potential key impacts of human use on sensitive ecological habitat in the area. The group will also consider how various boundaries of special management areas might affect preservation of rare plant habitat. They will focus on indentifying rare plant species. The grant was in the amount of $2,000.
On February 16, 2012, the DEAR board granted Stephen Stern, Proffesof of Biology at Colorado Mesa Univserity, $1,925 to conduct a study entitled “Population indentification and genetic analysis of two enemic locoweeds, Astragaulus linifolius and Astragalus rafaelensis.” The proposed research focuses on understanding the biology of two species in the plant genus Astragalus that occur in the high desert of western Colorado and eastern Utah. These two species, A. rafaelensis and A. linifolius are endemic to the area and have restricted distributions. His research goals are to 1) predict geographic areas that might harbor previously unknown populations of these species using GIS tools and identify whether these areas harbor the species by fieldwork, 2) confirm previous taxonomic conclusions that these are in fact two distinct species using molecular phylogenetic techniques including DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, and 3) investigate the genetic diversity within and between populations of these species using molecular techniques.
August 9, 2011 – 2011 Grants Awarded
The Nature Conservancy was awarded $10,000 for restoration work on its San Miguel River Tabeguache Preserve near Uravan, Colorado. Grant proceeds will be directed towards restoring upland habitat on a 40-acre parcel above the San Miguel River.
Native vegetation including four wing saltbush, Indian ricegrass, and sand dropseed will be planted and perennial weeds eliminated. DEAR funds will be dedicated to the purchase of seeds and irrigation equipment.
July 29, 2011 – Colorado wildflowers found on the Western Slope are now protected under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the flowers are found only on the Roan Plateau and South Shale Ridge. Read More
June 12, 2011 – The Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG) has identified rare plant populations that may be threatened by disturbances and has undertaken long term, scientific studies to determine the health and viability of these populations. Several of our Board members are actively engaged in rare plant monitoring as volunteers with the DBG. We have attended a thorough classroom and fieldwork training session and are certified as Rare Plant Monitoring Stewards.
Monitoring consists of a variety of activities including establishing GPS coordinates, plotting populations, recording statistics on individual plants, and seed gathering.