News | Research

INSTAAR research is featured in thousands of news stories and more than 10,000 social media posts per year. Outlets include the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio, and as well as more regional news outlets like High Country News, 9News, and the Denver Post. Selected highlights are listed below. Additional stories are noted @INSTAAR on Twitter.

Panoramic view of icebergs off Greenland in the Greenland Sea

What 25-million-year-old ocean sediment can teach us about our planet’s future (CU Boulder Today)

Oct. 9, 2023

Anne Jennings and her colleagues spent two months on a ship off the coast of Greenland drilling sediment cores deep below the ocean floor. They were searching for clues that will help predict melting patterns of major ice sheets in our warming world.

A view of from above of Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Look carefully and you'll see researchers in a small inflatable boat, taking lake measurements and samples.

Why lakes turn green: Researchers will take a deep dive into the health of North America’s freshwater lakes

Oct. 3, 2023

Supported by a new five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, a group of researchers at five universities will examine how rapidly warming temperatures and shorter winters can influence the growth and toxicity of lake algae. Isabella Oleksy, who studies aquatic ecosystems and recently joined INSTAAR, is leading the Colorado contingent at CU Boulder.

Julia Moriarty

Julia Moriarty named a D.O.E. Early Career Research Program scientist (Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine)

Sept. 29, 2023

Julia Moriarty (INSTAAR & ATOC) was named a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Early Career Researcher, receiving multiyear funding. The program helps support the next generation of U.S. STEM leaders. She will be working to improve predictability of water quality following floods in coastal urban systems.

Field Technician Sammy Yevak takes a snow depth reading above the Tundra Lab. Photo by Gabriel De La Rosa.

Each spring, the Niwot Ridge snow survey ushers in a new season of fieldwork (LTER Network)

Sept. 28, 2023

Long-Term Ecological Research Network communicator Gabriel De La Rosa spent three intense days on Niwot Ridge collecting the hundreds of data points that are a record of change in the alpine.

George Aiken in the field, wearing a big backpack for carrying tall tubes.

Aiken Graduate Fellowships awarded

Sept. 19, 2023

INSTAAR is pleased to announce four George R. Aiken Graduate Fellowships for 2023. CU Boulder graduate students Mackensie Bowen, Allison Cook, Tim Higgins, and Millie Spencer received the awards, which come with funding to support their research over the next year.

Out of its nest box for the first time, a young chickadee squints in the sun and stretches its wings.

Chickadees crossbreed, despite biological barriers

Aug. 29, 2023

Researchers in the Taylor Lab study interactions between higher-elevation dwelling mountain chickadees and the closely related lower-elevation dwelling black capped chickadees. A recent study in Global Change Biology investigates barriers that prevent the two species from mating and what happens when they do mate and produce offspring.

A group of paleontologists, wearing backpacks and sun hats, walk down a gully of eroding sedimentary rocks with a open vista of grassy plains in front of them. Photo by Rick Wicker DMNS

Ecosystems after the asteroid

Aug. 21, 2023

Julio Sepúlveda (INSTAAR Fellow and GEOL Associate Professor) is part of a team of scientists from seven collaborating institutions who were awarded a new research grant that will fund an investigation of the ecological and environmental changes that occurred on land after the asteroid impact and mass extinction event at the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary.

Meredith Zettlemoyer kneels in a patch of alpine plants, a clipboard propped against her knee.

Scientists at the Mountain Research Station investigate changing behavior of an alpine plant

July 26, 2023

A group from the University of Georgia is looking at alpine cushion plants—compact green mounds with small leaves and ephemeral flowers that hug Niwot Ridge and are found in many alpine areas across the world. They are studying how the flowering time and reproduction of these plants is changing as the climate warms and snowmelt advances.

A wildfire burns along a forested ridgeline, sending billows of grey-white smoke into the air.

‘Zombie fires’ are occurring more frequently in boreal forests, but their impacts remain uncertain (The Conversation)

July 17, 2023

Are zombie fires something to worry about? As a team of scientists who have dedicated our careers to understanding changing boreal fire regimes, we decided to find out for ourselves.

A male Wilson's Warbler, a bright yellow and olive colored small bird with distinct black eye and black cap.  Photo: Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash

The birds are all right

June 20, 2023

Birds continue to thrive in Colorado’s Snake River watershed, despite increasing heavy metals and rare earth elements in streams, finds a study by Kelly Watson and Diane McKnight.