PORTLAND, Ore. April 20, 2010. When Charlie Crisafulli arrived at Mount St. Helens by helicopter just two months after the May 18, 1980 eruption, he had no way of knowing that his research would fundamentally transform thinking about the ecology and management of disturbed landscapes. But, 30 years later, his findings have done just that and are the focus of field interviews he will be offering to reporters beginning today at the volcano in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the 1980 eruption.
“Mount St. Helens is the most thoroughly studied volcano in the world,” said Crisafulli, an ecologist with the station who has dedicated his career to studying the reassembly of the volcano’s animal and plant communities in the wake of the eruption. “It’s taught us a tremendous amount about how landscapes react initially and over the long-term to major disturbances.”
Crisafulli will be available every Tuesday through May 18, 2010, for field interviews in the debris avalanche deposit zone along the Toutle River. Photo opportunities will abound, as he will be conducting research on pond-dwelling amphibians and insects with his field crew. Contact Crisafulli directly to schedule an interview and to receive directions to the site.
On May 18, 1980, after weeks of tremors, Mount St. Helens erupted spectacularly and profoundly changed a vast area surrounding the volcano. In the three decades since the catastrophic eruption, station scientists and their colleagues have used the volcano as a living laboratory for ecological research.
To learn more about ecological research at Mount St. Helens and to access publications, high-resolution photos, maps, and other resources, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/mtsthelens/.
The U.S. Forest Service’s PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 425 employees.