Real Science

Temperatures in Boulder have not increased for 60 years, yet the University of Colorado has obtained $800,000 to study how global warming has affected the local rodents. Perhaps the fat furry rats are teleconnected to Yamal?

The massive grant — from the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation — is designed to give the researchers three years in the field to try and figure out how climate change is altering prairie dog habitat and how the rodents are responding to those changes. The study also will examine the interactions between native and non-native plants, including whether new species are taking up water used by the native variety.

Heather Swanson, Boulder’s wildlife ecologist, said some of the changes reported in recent years include loss of topsoil and changes in plant species where prairie dogs can be found. One of the primary questions is whether those changes are causing…

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