Best Friends Forever: The importance of the mutualistic relationship of whitebark pine and Clark’s nutcracker in an uncertain climate future.
Dr. Bob Keane is our speaker at Five Valleys Audubon’s joint meeting with the Native Plant Society on Monday, January 8, 2018 at 7:00 PM in Room 123 of the Gallagher Business Building at UM.
The iconic tree species whitebark pine has an interesting and mutualistic relationship with an avian corvid – the Clark’s nutcracker. The bird uses the seed as an essential food source and the tree depends on the bird to disperse the seed. However, due to continued fire exclusion, severe mountain pine beetle outbreaks, and the introduction of an exotic fungus, white pine blister rust, the tree is rapidly declining across its range in North America, and to make matters worse, climate change appears to exacerbate the decline. What will become of
the tree and its bird friend in the uncertain future?
Bob Keane has been a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory since 1994. His most recent research includes developing ecological computer simulation models for exploring landscape, fire, and climate dynamics, conducting basic research in wildland fuel science and researching the ecology and restoration of whitebark pine. He received his B.S. degree in forest engineering from the University of Maine, Orono; his M.S. degree in forest ecology from the University of Montana, Missoula; and his Ph.D. degree in forest ecology from the University of Idaho, Moscow.