Glaciers are retreating in Glacier National Park and across the globe due to climate change, though a special community of cold water invertebrates have persisted in areas of Montana, a new study shows.

Scott Hotaling.
Hotaling

A team of researchers, including Scott Hotaling, a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University, identified a specialized cold-water invertebrate community, which includes the Endangered Species Act-protected meltwater stonefly, living in the highest elevation streams fed not only by melting glaciers but also by snowfields and groundwater springs.

The researchers note that climate change impacts on mountain biodiversity are complex and uncertain. They emphasize the urgent need to assess the widespread impacts of climate-induced glacier loss in high-elevation mountain ecosystems.

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