Marmots focus of Evening Talk at ONRC

FORKS — Marmots will be the topic of the University of Washington Olympic Natural Resources Center’s free Evening Talk at 7 p.m. Monday.

Maia Murphy-Williams, a University of Washington graduate researcher, will tell of her research on the marmots of Olympic National Park. She will speak in the Hemlock Forest Room of the Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) at 1455 S. Forks Ave.

Refreshments will be served and a dessert potluck is encouraged.

In “Of Meadows and Marmots: an investigation of climate change impacts in the high alpine ecosystems of Olympic National Park, Washington,” Murphy-Williams will report that the parks’ marmot population has declined an estimated 50 percent in the past 30 years, said Frank Hanson of the ONRC.

The Olympic marmot is an ecologically important and charismatic species, Hanson said. The loss of this alpine icon would be detrimental to the alpine ecosystem and to Olympic National Park, he added.

Murphy-Williams’ project builds off previous research by Sue Griffin, and the continued monitoring efforts of the Marmot Citizen Science Project led by Patti Happe, wildlife branch chief at the national park, with the goal of learning more about climate change impacts on alpine meadows and marmot habitat preferences.

The purpose of Murphy-Williams’ project is to investigate the causes of the Olympic marmot population decline and to provide information to park managers to help develop management strategies to aid in the future preservation of the species.

Murphy-Williams is a graduate student at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington, pursuing a master of science in wildlife science.

Evening Talks at ONRC are supported by the Rosmond Forestry Education Fund, an endowment that honors the contributions of Fred Rosmond and his family to forestry and the Forks community.

For more about the ONRC, see its website at onrc.washington.edu.

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