Wildlife Conservation and Climate Change


>> I'm Kevin McKelvey. I'm a research ecologist with the Rocky Mountain Research Station. I work with the wildlife unit, and have done so for about the last 15 years. [Background Music] The primary topic of my research is developing tools and other products that enable large-scale conservation of natural resources. My work helps managers understand how certain species will react to climate change, and how to measure those changes, if and when they occur. Bull trout are a species we're currently studying. Bull trout are a threatened species under the "Endangered Species Act," and bull trout are extremely sensitive to cold water; they require cold water. Water warming would be an obvious effect of climate change. What we're doing is we're developing methodologies by which you can detect very reliably and extremely low cost whether bull trout are present in a particular stream.

We do that by sampling the water, and sucking the water from that stream through a filter and testing for bull trout DNA, which is on the filter. It's called environmental DNA, and it promises to allow us to determine the presence of bull trout with greater reliability, and at much, much lower cost than we ever have been able to in the past. We provide the information, tools, and resources the land managers need to accurately access the current condition of their resources, to detect changes, say climate changes, when and if they occur, and to respond to those changes in a timely and effective manor given real budget constraints; that's the focus of my research. [ Music ].