Zoe Exelbert

Hydroclimate Vulnerability Assessment of the Great Salt Lake on Bird Migratory Patterns

Undergraduate, College of Engineering, School of Computing
Major: Data Science, Minor: Environmental and Sustainability Studies

Birds are an integral puzzle piece for keeping the Great Salt Lake ecosystem thriving. However, climatic changes in the area are slowly degrading this ecological relationship. My research focuses on 12 species of birds that inhabit the Great Salt Lake during their migrations. In analyzing the hydroclimate variability in the Great Salt Lake through investigations of regional climatic dipoles, I’m creating a data-driven simulation displaying bird abundance changes at the Great Salt Lake in part to a shrinking lakebed and a struggling surrounding ecosystem. As a Data Science student with an admiration for quantitative ecology, I’m eager to use my understanding of the power of data to revamp our approaches within the spheres of ecology and atmospheric science. Understanding how bird migrations will be influenced through my research is the first step I’m taking to simulate answers to one of the many ecologically-focused phenomena that need more global attention.

Undergraduate Wilkes Scholar