An unfortunate and dangerous commonality persists among conversations concerning human-driven climate change. Often, the consequences of climate change are spoken of as something that will take place in the future, something that is decades from now. Naively, many even talk as if it is something that is still preventable if only we could convince people to take on a "green" lifestyle, industry to clean up its act, and policy makers to face overwhelming evidence. While those are worthy pursuits, that naiveté is dangerous.
Climate change is happening now. It is affecting ecosystems around the globe and causing drastic decreases in biodiversity. Organisms across land and sea are being forced to migrate, acclimate, adapt, or face extinction. As a Ph.D. student, I am researching such responses to increase our understanding of how some animals may respond to climate change through acclimation or adaptation (acclimation occurs when an individual exhibits some change in its behavior, morphology, or physiology in response to changes in its immediate environment; adaptation is an evolutionary process that occurs over generations as environmental pressures lead to certain heritable traits occurring more or less frequently among all the individuals in a population).
Michael Carlo started his career in research as an undergraduate in the biology program at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Since UMW is a small liberal arts college with a strong biology program, he was given the opportunity to work closely with his mentors there, learning first-hand laboratory and field research skills. By the time he graduated, he published an honors thesis on methods to measure stress in wild bird populations based on research with his advisors, Dr. Andrew Dolby and Dr. Deborah O'Dell.
Carlo is now a Ph.D. student in Dr. Michael Sears' lab at Clemson University where he works in the field of "thermal ecology," studying how changing temperatures affect the survival, growth, and reproduction of different organisms.
KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, CSRwire, climate refugees, acclimation, adaptation, philopatry