NPS Climate Change Intern Studies Indiana Dunes Karner Blue

Through its George Melendez Wright Climate Change Interns and Fellows program, the National Park Service supports student research on climate change issues.  Tatanya Liakhova is studying Karner Blues (from the NPS web site):

Preserving the Karner Blue Butterfly in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Over the summer, Tatyana Liakhova worked with NPS and USGS scientists in hopes of preserving populations of the federally endangered butterfly species called Karner Blue. As a GMW Intern, she was not only able to watch Karner Blue grow from a tiny egg to a full grown adult, but also worked on helping to prevent the extinction of these beautiful butterflies.

Tatyana Liakhova is working to prevent the extinction of the Karner Blue Butterfly. NPS photo.

Ms. Liakhova collected field data on temperature variations, slope aspect, canopy cover, and shading in order to model and predict the specific effects of climate change on the lifecycle of the Karner.

Based on the Karner’s response to the documented temperature variations, it will be possible to recreate the most suitable conditions in order to stop further population loss. Another important part of her internship was to educate the public about climate change research and the importance of diversity preservation at Indiana Dunes by creating field signs and information for the park’s educational websites.

“Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a fascinating place teeming with diverse plant and animal life,” says Ms. Liakhova. “Overall, knowledge gained through this internship has broadened my understanding about climate change and the ways to fight it. It has solidified my decision to become an environmental chemist in hopes of preventing further climate change.”

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