Nathan Piekielek

First Name: 
Nathan
Last Name: 
Piekielek
Academic Year: 
AY2011-12
Advisor: 
Graduate Program: 
Ecology & Environmental Sciences PhD
Department: 
College/University: 
Montana State University
Research/Scholarly Work: 
My dissertation research leverages some of the best NASA remote-sensing technology and ecosystem models to see what we can learn about the two biggest drivers of ecological change within and adjacent to US National Parks, land use and climate change, and their ecological consequences at landscape scales. I address this topic in three chapters. First, I quantify the extent of fragmentation of ecosystem types from pre-European settlement to the present day for 4 protected area centered ecosystems around the country. Two, I explore the biophysical controls of land surface phenology in a focused study area spanning the northern Yellowstone National Park boundary and how human land use modifies these controls. Three, I demonstrate how the spatial and temporal dimensions of forage availability, as influenced by land use and climate, have the potential to affect the seasonal space use of migratory herbivores in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

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