GSDUpdate: Ushering in a New Age of Genetics to Restore Lands and Conserve Species
we look at how plant genetic information provides critical knowledge necessary to mitigate the impacts of climate change through ecological restoration.
The first step in restoration is recognizing and delineating genetic boundaries at different taxonomic and spatial hierarchies (e.g., species,
subspecies and populations). The second step is an assessment of the genetic diversity found within and among populations of a species.
“For many of the plants that occupy western North American, little population genetic information is available,” says RMRS Director Sam
Foster, “which can lead to imperfect matches of plants to environments.” These data provide guidance on the health and evolutionary
potential of species by understanding the characteristics of their populations, fundamental units of evolution.
Welcome to the Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems (GSD) Program of the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
The Big Picture
Grassland, shrubland, and desert ecosystems are under threat from disturbances, invasive species, and climate change. These ecosystems provide considerable value in the form of wildlife habitat, clean air and water, biological diversity and recreation.
What We Do
We develop and deliver scientific knowledge, technology and tools that will enable people to sustain and restore grasslands, shrublands, and deserts under increasing threats from expanding human-related uses, invasive species, changing disturbance patterns, and climate changes.
Research by Subject Area
Our scientists perform relevant and timely research in five focal areas: disturbance, invasive species, restoration, ecosystem sustainability and management, and climate change.
Research by Ecoregions
Our science teams perform research in three ecoregions in western North America and other ecosystems around the world. These eco-regions cover vast areas of the western landscapes where our teams tackle multiple threats to ecosystem sustainability.
Who We Are
The GSD program consists of scientists, professionals, technicians and support staff with diverse expertise in the biological, social, and natural resource sciences. We work in collaboration with universities, municipal, state and federal natural resources agencies, non-government organizations, and other research and management institutions. Members of the GSD staff are located at 7 laboratories in 6 states in the intermountain West (Provo, UT, Reno, NV), Rocky Mountains (Boise and Moscow, ID), northern Great Plains (Bozeman, MT, Rapid City, SD), and American Southwest (Albuquerque, NM). GSD employees also manage the Great Basin Experimental Range and the Desert Experimental Range and serve as liaisons to research natural areas within the geographic region covered by the Rocky Mountain Research Station.