The Living Snow Project: Alpine-based Citizen Science
The Living Snow Project empowers the Pacific Northwest community to participate in research on climate change effects on alpine snow ecosystems.
The Kodner Lab in the Biology Department at Western Washington University is studying snow algae communities using DNA samples from across the Cascades and uses citizen scientists/community scientists/climber and hiker scientist to help us collect samples. Snow algae are pink or red cells that live in/on the snow and are often called ‘watermelon snow’. The algae's dark color increases the rate that snow and ice melt, which are a stress on the rapidly receding glaciers of the Cascades Mountains.
We are recruiting volunteers now for the 2018 season and the program has grown 10x since the 2017 season. We are looking for more financial support for collection kits for volunteers, postage, and student researchers who process the samples.
Every year, we need to sample as many places as often as possible to get samples of snow algae. We have huge gaps in our ability to collect samples in extreme alpine environments. In the Kodner Lab, we can only climb so many mountains in a season. See our website for more details: https://kodnerlab.wordpress.com/citizen-science/.
Our active outdoor community has this ability to help make an important contribution to climate change research while doing what we love to do. We need funding to accomplish our goals. The results of this community effort will be a much higher-resolution study than we could do alone. Thank you for your support.
Watch this video to learn more about how we study snow algae.
What this video to learn more about how to sample snow algae.