Eastern New Mexico University Seed Award

Tracing the Impacts of Prehistoric Climate Change: Eastern New Mexico’s Water Resources across the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition

Project Investigator: J. David Kilby

Project Summary

This proposal requests support for a program that offers undergraduate students at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) opportunities to participate in the scientific study of the affects of long-term climate change. As the Pleistocene-Holocene transition represents the most recent analog to modern global warming, a better understanding of its effects stands to provide information relevant to understanding and anticipating changes to New Mexico water resources as a result of contemporary climate change. Blackwater Draw Locality 1 provides a record of changes in surface water due to changing environmental conditions over the past 15,000 years, and provides an ideal venue to offer students experience in the scientific investigation of climate change.

This proposal addresses New Mexico EPSCoR focus areas of climate and hydrology, and climate science education by providing undergraduate students the opportunity for classroom, field, and lab-based educational experience in SCWinnerpaleoclimate studies. Students will investigate hydrologic and ecological variation relative to climatic changes at the end of the last Ice Age. In two complementary 8-week classes, students will learn to investigate hydrologic changes through reconstructing past depositional environments, to investigate corresponding ecological changes through the collection and analysis of paleo-environmental data, and to report results in a scholarly format.

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