Student Spotlight – Daniel Winkler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaniel Winkler is a Ph.D. student in the lab of Professor Travis E. Huxman, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  Daniel was recently awarded the Exploration Fund grant and designated a Mamont Scholar by the Explorers Club for his proposed project to study climate change in the Ecuadorian Andes. The Exploration Fund grant is awarded to early career scientists and provides support of exploration and field research.

Daniel’s dissertation research involves investigating the relationships between climate change, human movement and how these two factors facilitate the spread of non-native invasive plant species in protected landscapes across the Southwest, as well as in high altitude systems in South America and Asia.  The Exploration Fund grant will take Daniel to the High Andes Mountains of Ecuador this winter. There, he will visit Mount Chimborazo and study plant species interactions at high altitude alpine desert climates, and how they respond to climate change.

“Receiving this award is a true honor and has further inspired me to commit myself to scientific investigation as a means to educate others to understand and protect our Earth for future generations.” Said Daniel.  “I am proud to represent UCI during this field exploration and am thankful to UCI and the Ayala School of Biological Sciences for supporting me during my time here and while working abroad.”

Along with his collaborators at UCI, Daniel has partnered with various government and non-profit environmental groups, including the Tubb Canyon Desert Conversancy, the Anza-Borrego Foundation, California State Parks, the National Park Service and the United States Department of Agriculture.  Additionally, he serves as a National Park Service Young Leader and Climate Change Fellow and has collaborated with researchers at Saguaro National Park to better understand the impacts of climate change on protected landscapes. During his service as a Park Service Fellow, he created an intensive research program investigating the impacts of drought on water-use strategies of the Park’s namesake: the iconic Saguaro cactus.  You can find out much more about Daniel at: http://www.winklerde.com/

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