When CU-Boulder entomologist Cesar Nufio discovered a collection of 50-year-old grasshoppers in a CU lab, he knew they woudd be instrumental in assessing the effects of climate change on grasshoppers. Nufio is an adjoint curator in the Entomology Section of the Museum Natural History at CU, and has taught several courses in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department.
The collection of grasshoppers, along with notebooks cataloging detailed field notes, were the work of Gordon Alexander, former head of CU-Boulder’s biology department.Stephanie Paige Ogburn of KUNC.org reports: “Alexander’s grasshoppers, combined with the notebooks cataloging weekly surveys at sites going up and down the mountains near Boulder, are like a snapshot of grasshopper life 50 years ago.
“For a researcher hoping to understand how warming is affecting species and ecosystems, that glimpse into the past is unusual and valuable, since it allows Nufio to compare that world to the present.”
Nufio has picked up the trail where the Professor Alexander left off fifty years ago. He continues to survey grasshoppers in the Boulder area in order to determine if climate change has had an effect on their lifecycle and population.