The University of Rhode Island recently highlighted the work of Associate Professor Chris Floyd, who studies wildlife populations living on sky islands.
According to a news release, sky islands are small mountain ranges
at high elevations that make for isolated populations.
have presumably been isolated in these small mountain ranges for
10,000 years, so you’d think they would have very inbred
populations," Floyd said of yellow-bellied marmots, one of his
primary subjects. "But my genetic work indicates that marmots
occasionally cross the desert valleys and are genetically connected
with marmots on other ranges.”
While Floyd's work on sky
islands has primarily taken place in Nevada, since moving to URI this
fall he has begun to pursue research opportunities involving the
wildlife on New England's more-traditional islands.
this year I had never visited New England,” he said. “I’m
taking advantage of field trips with my students to learn as much as
I can about the local environments. I took my class to Rome Point
last week, and we watched 52 harbor seals lie on the rocks. I am
gradually working my way around to all of the remarkable places Rhode
Island has to offer.”
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