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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Ophiocordyceps Sinensis Availability and Range in Western Himalaya - Tragedy of Commons and Climate Variability Impacts on Alpine Ecosystem

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AUTHORS: Regina B Thomas*, University of Kansas; Xingong Li*, University of Kansas; Gautam Talukdar, Wildlife Institute of India

ABSTRACT: Micro-climate of high altitude regions is influenced by global climate variations and indirectly the local livelihoods of mountain communities. Between 3000m - 4500m altitude in the western Himalayas in India a mountain community is irrevocably dependent economically on a medicinal fungus beginning late 1990s. This medicinal fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, is sensitive to climate variability, human-interactions and has a limited evolutionary capacity. This study delineates the potential geographic distribution region and conducts a spatio-temporal comparison for clear visualization for any range variations. Maxent model is used to predict the geographic distribution area and range variations between 2010 -2017; only field validated occurrence points are used in combination with abiotic factors viz. product of NDVI, snow cover frequency from MODIS data along with topographical variables. The range variations are distributed into two short periods of three years each In addition, participatory research practice helps us argue that the current harvest practice discourages recuperation of the medicinal fungus and there is visible climatic variability and consequences on the landscape in last two decades. Although, this study does not intend to delve into value assessment of the ecosystem instead it focuses on the climate variability effects on the species as a surrogate to draw chain of effects on the alpine ecosystem and human communities. The results from a preliminary analysis have indicated variations in potential suitable range, as its inability to rapidly adapt to a new zone is uncertain it will have a major negative impact on the local livelihood.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room