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Preston Cumming

Preston Cumming (Post-Docs)

CIMG1271

I am currently a post-doctoral fellow in Botany and TerreWEB at the University of British Columbia working with Gary Bradfield in Botany and Maja Krzic in Land and Food Systems. I got my PhD in Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder studying the effects of fine-scale yearly microclimatic variation on the species composition changes across the forest/steppe ecotone. My research at UBC will focus on the grasslands of the Southern Interior of British Columbia. While at UBC I will study vegetation productivity within grazing exclosures established at different times over the past 80+ years as well as how species composition can change with slight variability in microclimate and soil along ecotones established by small scale topographical changes. With certain increases in temperature and a more variable precipitation regime predicted in this region, an understanding of current and past conditions will aide in stakeholders ability to adapt and manage effectively. As ecologists we have the unique opportunity to observe climate change and its effects on our native lands first hand. Unfortunately, in many cases we do not effectively communicate these powerful findings in a clear way. This project will assist in uniting the understanding of global changes while bringing community awareness to the effects of climate change right out our back door. My fellowship with the TerreWEB program will assist the community in increasing effective communication strategies surrounding climate change by providing several outlets-educational materials, social media, and the project website-for community members to utilize and discuss educational tools. The project’s research will provide essential information that is necessary to support present and future grassland/forest management decisions in western North America in the face of an uncertain climatic future. My career goals include increasing my abilities to disseminate my research through unique avenues of communication in the classroom and out in terms of production of educational materials for K-12 and university teaching, university and community workshops, public policy outlets, digital media (videos, Apple™ and Android™ applications, blogs, social media, videos, and news media outlets), as well as the traditional research publications. In the future I desire to continue my pursuit of an academic faculty position at a college or university that provides me the necessary balance of research, teaching, and service that is needed to continue with these forms of outreach.

Research Topic: Grasslands of the Southern Interior of British Columbia

Supervisor: Dr. Maja Krzic

Publications:

Lee, R, G. Bradfield, M. Krzic, R. Newman, and P. Cumming. 2014. Plant community – soil relationships in a topographically diverse grassland in southern interior British Columbia, Canada. Botany 92:837-845.

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