5 Science for parks / parks for science: Conservation-based research in national parks

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Park Science

Integrating Research and Resource Management in the National Parks

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Volume 26 • Number 1 • Spring 2009


National Park Service

U.S. Department of the Interior

Natural Resource Program Center

Office of Education and Outreach

[Cover. Photo mosaic of Canon Scholars.]

Research of the Canon National Park Science Scholars Program

Contributions to protected area conservation

• Biological Sciences

• Physical Sciences

• Social / Cultural Sciences

• Technology Innovation

= = = = Contents = = = =

[Six photos]
Credits: Courtesy of Victor Bonito; David Tatin; NPS/James Roche; David Snyder; Courtesy of Emily Brown; Courtesy of Renata Sousa-Lima.


(1) From the Guest Editors

(2) In This Issue

(3) Information Crossfile

(Journal articles summarized by Canon Scholars about the work of their Canon Scholar colleagues)

(4) Book Review

Yellowstone denied: The life of Gustavus Cheyney Doane


Biological Sciences

(5) Science for parks / parks for science: Conservation-based research in national parks

Author uses his research on invasive species to highlight the importance of parks to science.

By Andrew V. Suarez

(6) The rock and ice problem in national parks: An opportunity for monitoring climate change impacts

Research examines opportunities to study the effects of climate change on the physical, floral, and faunal components of alpine systems.

By Andrew G. Bunn

(7) 1,000 feet above a coral reef: A seascape approach to designing marine protected areas

Investigators apply terrestrial landscape ecology principles to managing coral reef ecosystems.

By Rikki Grober-Dunsmore, Victor Bonito, and Thomas Frazer

(8) Management strategies for keystone bird species: The Magellanic woodpecker in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina

A flagship species helps guide ecosystem management in the forests of southern Argentina and Chile.

By Valeria Ojeda

Physical Sciences

(9) Climate change and water supply in western national parks

Authors describe the impacts of warming temperatures on precipitation regimes in the western United States.

By Jessica Lundquist and James Roche

(10) Mercury in snow at Acadia National Park reveals watershed dynamics

Research examines deposition in snow in Acadia’s forested watersheds.

By Sarah J. Nelson

(11) Organic pollutant distribution in Canadian mountain parks

Scientists identify contaminant “hot spots” in Canadian mountain parks.

By Gillian Daly and Frank Wania

Social / Cultural Sciences

(12) Building an NPS training program in interpretation through distance learning

Designed to meet professional competencies, a new distance learning program reaches interpreters, volunteers, concessioners, and other employees.

By Elizabeth R. Barrie and Katie L. Bliss

(13) Musical instruments in the pre-Hispanic Southwest

Museum collections from National Park System sites facilitate an understanding of the social and physical contexts of music in pre-Hispanic cultures.

By Emily Brown

(14) Societal dynamics in grizzly bear conservation: Vulnerabilities of the ecosystem-based management approach

Author analyzes the human dimensions of bear management in Canada, specifically the need to integrate conservation goals with effective collaborative processes for successful planning and management.

By Douglas Clark

Technology Innovation

(15) Linking wildlife populations with ecosystem change: State-of-the-art satellite ecology for national park science

Combined GPS and satellite imagery provide new ways to monitor ecosystem dynamics at geomorphologically large scales.

By Mark Hebblewhite

(16) Whale sound recording technology as a tool for assessing the effects of boat noise in a Brazilian marine park

Using passive acoustic technology, researchers record the movements of whales, assess the impacts of noise from boat tours, and help refine tourism management.

By Renata S. Sousa-Lima and Christopher W. Clark


Summer 2009

Research Reports, State-of-the-Science, Case Studies, Restoration Journal, Features, Profile, At Your Service, and more

Fall 2009

Theme issue: Soundscapes research and management in the National Park System

Spring 2010

Now accepting articles, news, updates, and photographs. Contributor’s deadline: November 15, 2009. Visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/ParkScience/ for author guidelines or contact the editor at jeff_selleck@nps.gov or 303-969-2147 to discuss proposals.



• Multimedia files and full tabular data for selected articles

• Complete catalog of back issues

• Key word searching

• Author guidelines

• Editorial style guide

• Share comments on articles

• Manage your subscription


The photo mosaic samples the more than 75 men and women who have undertaken research projects in national parks and protected areas over the past 10 years with the support of the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program. This issue of Park Science summarizes a selection of their discoveries in the areas of biological, physical, social, and cultural sciences, as well as technology innovation.
Photos: Courtesy of the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program. Map: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

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PARK Science

Integrating Research and Resource Management in the National Parks

Volume 26 • Number 1 • Spring 2009


ISSN 0735–9462

Published by

U.S. Department of the Interior

National Park Service

Natural Resource Program Center

Lakewood, Colorado

Acting Director, National Park Service

Dan Wenk

Associate Director, Natural Resource Stewardship & Science

Bert Frost

Director, Natural Resource Program Center

George Dickison


Jeff Selleck

Natural Resource Program Center, Office of Education and Outreach

Associate Editor

Katie KellerLynn

Writer-Editor, Colorado State University (cooperator)

Contributing Editor

Betsie Blumberg

Writer-Editor, Pennsylvania State University (cooperator)


Lori D. Kranz (contractor)


Jeff Selleck, Editor

Editorial board

• John Dennis—Deputy Chief Scientist, Natural Resource Stewardship & Science

• Rick Jones—Interpretive Planner, Harpers Ferry Center

• Bob Krumenaker—Superintendent, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

• Charles Roman—NPS Research Coordinator, North Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, University of Rhode Island

• Bobbi Simpson—Supervisory Biologist and California Exotic Plant Management Team Liaison, Point Reyes National Seashore

• Kathy Tonnessen—NPS Research Coordinator, Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, University of Montana

Editorial office

Jeff Selleck

National Park Service


P.O. Box 25287

Denver, CO 80225-0287

E-mail: jeff_selleck@nps.gov

Phone: 303-969-2147

Fax: 303-987-6704

Park Science is a research and resource management bulletin of the U.S. National Park Service. It serves a broad audience of national park and protected area managers and scientists and provides public outreach. Published twice a year in spring and fall with occasional supplementary issues, Park Science reports the implications of recent and ongoing natural and social science and related cultural research for park planning, management, and policy. Thematic issues that explore a topic in depth are published occasionally. Articles are field-oriented accounts of applied research and resource management topics that are presented in nontechnical language. They translate scientific findings into usable knowledge for park planning and the development of sound management practices for natural resources and visitor enjoyment. The editor and board review content for clarity, completeness, usefulness, scientific and technical soundness, and relevance to NPS policy. The publication is funded by the Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science through the Natural Resource Preservation Program.

Article inquiries, submissions, and comments should be directed to the editor by e-mail; hard-copy materials should be forwarded to the editorial office. Letters addressing scientific or factual content are welcome and may be edited for length, clarity, and tone.

Facts and views expressed in Park Science are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect opinions or policies of the National Park Service. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the National Park Service.

Park Science is published online at http://www.nature.nps.gov/ParkScience (ISSN 1090-9966). The Web site provides guidelines for article submission, an editorial style guide, key word searching, an archive of back issues, and information on how to subscribe or update your subscription.

Though subscriptions are offered free of charge, voluntary donations help defray production costs. A typical donation is $15 per year. Checks should be made payable to the National Park Service and sent to the editorial office address.

Suggested article citation

Lundquist, J., and J. Roche. 2009. Climate change and water supply in western national parks. Park Science 26(1):31–34.

Printed on recycled paper.

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(1) = = = = From the Guest Editors = = = =

The Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program: A legacy of science for national parks

[Photo: Five Canon Scholars]
Credit: Courtesy of the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program

AN URGENT NEED THROUGHOUT THE AMERICAS and the world is to better understand how to preserve the natural and cultural resources of national parks for future generations. Hence, educating and preparing the next generation of conservation scientists is a vital responsibility. These scientists will learn, discover, invent, and create solutions to preserve national parks in the 21st century. In 1997, Canon U.S.A., Inc., the National Park Service (NPS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) collaborated and created the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program to help address these important challenges. Canon generously supported this program for more than a decade. The program awarded scholarships to more than 75 doctoral students who conducted research in more than 90 national parks throughout the Americas. Today, program alumni work in academia, the private sector (including nongovernmental organizations), and government. This theme issue of Park Science highlights the research activities of selected Canon Scholars and the difference they are making in science and conservation.

About the program

The program’s mission was “to encourage the best and brightest graduate students in all relevant disciplines to conduct research important to the future of national parks, expand scientific knowledge concerning conservation and sustainability and share this knowledge broadly, develop future world leaders in science and conservation, demonstrate kyosei [coming together for the common good] in an innovative partnership, and help preserve the national parks of the 21st century.” Originally, the program awarded scholarships to doctoral students studying in national parks in the United States. Beginning in 2002, the program expanded to include students in all countries of the Americas—Canada, United States of America, Mexico, and countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Because much of the science important to national parks crosses traditional academic disciplines, scholarships covered four broad categories: (1) biological sciences, (2) physical sciences, (3) social/cultural sciences, and (4) technology innovation in support of conservation. The program awarded eight scholarships each year—four to students studying at universities in the United States and four to students studying at universities in other countries throughout the Americas. A significant portion of each student’s research had to be in, or directly relevant to, a national park in the country in which he or she had citizenship. AAAS organized and led the annual international scientific review panels that selected the winners, administered the scholarship funds, and participated in program activities.

Each scholar received funding to support his or her doctoral research and complete a dissertation within three years. The total award amount for each scholar—$75,000 beginning in 1997, increased to $80,000 over the period of the program—went toward tuition, books, fieldwork expenses (including research assistants), equipment and supplies needed to complete the research project, laboratory expenses, travel to field sites and scientific meetings, and a student stipend. In addition to their scholarships, Canon Scholars participated in intensive science retreats held over the years at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming; Williamsburg, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Vieques, Puerto Rico; Bay of Loreto National Marine Park, Mexico; Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Canada; and Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

About this issue

The purpose of this issue of Park Science is to assemble examples of the scientific research through which Canon Scholars are making a difference in the future of national parks. Four guest editors prepared this special edition: Jean McKendry, the program’s coordinator; Andrew Bunn, a Canon Scholar in 2001; Patricia Illoldi-Rangel, a Canon Scholar in 2002; and Gary Machlis, the program’s director. Program alumni contributed to several sections of this issue; 12 alumni authored research articles. The research articles are organized around the four program categories and reflect the broad diversity of research in which Canon Scholars are engaged. Guest editors Bunn and Illoldi-Rangel summarized selected peer-reviewed articles (see Information Cross. le department) published elsewhere. Elizabeth Brusati, a Canon Scholar in 2001, also contributed to Information Crossfile. Alice Wondrak-Biel, a Canon Scholar in 1999, reviewed the book Yellowstone denied: The life of Gustavus Cheyney Doane.

The biological and physical science articles illustrate the opportunities that national parks provide to make fundamental contributions to science. They also highlight the stresses that parks face in a changing world. The articles from these two sections cover a breadth of scientific disciplines that would never be brought together at traditional scientific conferences.

The articles in the social/cultural sciences emphasize the importance of people in the preservation and management of national parks. While research on park visitors has become more common, equally significant is research that focuses on park employees, partners, and local residents (present and past). The articles in this section exemplify these topics.

The articles about technology innovation in support of conservation illustrate how contemporary park research and management activities can substantially benefit from scientific advances in technology fields not traditionally associated with national parks.

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