You’re huffing up a mountain, covered in layers of clothes but also sweat. “Whew,” you say, breathing heavy. Your ears have popped several times by now, and the air is thinner than what you are used to. You look up, and the view is nothing like the one from home.
Mountains are different from anything else we see. The tall peaks, the high altitude and the temperatures ensure that only certain species can thrive there. Luckily, Dr. Tom Tomasi Is knowledgeable about this, and he’s willing to share.
Mountains are cool
Tomasi, professor of biology, is especially interested in what organisms live in the mountains, or mountain ecology.
“The high elevation and the rapid change in elevation (slope) affects in many ways the life of plants and animals that live there,” Tomasi said.
A total of 13 people trekked the mountains with Tomasi this summer, July 27 – Aug. 12. During this time, they explored the mountains of Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
Students were able to learn about life in the mountains, plus see the effects of fire and human development. Conservation efforts were also apparent in their trip.
Each student was required to do research projects, both as a group and individually.
With abiotic factors and the interesting landscape and creatures that call mountains home, it’s hard not to think they’re cool, Tomasi said.
Students also studied in several national parks, including Petrified Forest, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Rocky Mountain. They camped in several of those as well.
“Merely telling students about the mountains is not as good as experiencing them,” Tomasi said.
Tomasi isn’t stopping with mountains. Next year, he hopes to host a desert ecology class and trip.