Two scientists have been awarded fellowships to conduct research in Acadia National Park as part of Second Century Stewardship, an initiative of the National Park Service and Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park.
Second Century Stewardship was launched in 2016 upon the centennial of the National Park Service to provide top-quality science research for park stewardship, build public appreciation for science, and pursue solutions to critical issues for parks and society. The collaboration is initially focused at Acadia National Park in Maine, with plans to partner with national parks across the country over time.
Two research fellows have been named for 2018:
- Dr. Allison Gardner, Assistant Professor in the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine
- Dr. Jennifer Smetzer, Faculty in the Statistical and Data Sciences Program at Smith College
The fellows will be examining how rapidly changing conditions are affecting fundamental resources and human health within Acadia National Park and across the region.
Dr. Gardner is investigating the impacts of habitat management on tick-borne disease in Acadia. Historical fires, such as the Fire of 1947 on Mount Desert Island, and contemporary prescribed burns have short-term and long-term effects on ecosystems and may impact tick-borne disease systems, including the hosts for Lyme disease (deer and mice).
“Due in part to ongoing climate change, Maine has experienced a five-fold increase in incidence of Lyme disease over the past decade. There is growing interest in mitigating tick-borne disease risk via habitat management, and our research will help park managers understand how natural disturbances and management actions reduce or increase the potential for tick-borne disease transmission” Gardner said.
Dr. Smetzer is examining how Acadia National Park may provide refuge from climate change for many plant and animal species. “With its coastal position, diverse topography and habitats, and protected status in an otherwise urbanizing landscape, Acadia may be buffered from the worst impacts of climate change”, said Smetzer. She will use state-of-the-art climate and land change mapping products to identify climate change refugia for key plant, insect, and bird species in the park.
The two new fellows are the 5th and 6th SCS fellows, joining Dr. Abbey Paulson (2016), Dr. Allyson Jackson (2017), Dr. Alessio Mortelliti (2017), and Christopher Nadeau (2017).
About the Second Century Stewardship partner organizations:
Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is a close nonprofit partner to the NPS that is dedicated to advancing ecosystem science and learning for all ages. The Institute helps the NPS achieve the original vision for Acadia as a destination for science and inspiration, and seeks to be a national leader for research that inspires environmental stewardship.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
The Second Century Stewardship initiative engages in science through research fellowships and education programs for the benefit of parks and society.