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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
March 14, 2005
Volume 40, Number 8

Sevilleta Research and Education Center receives $3 million

From left, UNM President Louis Caldera, Congresswoman Heather Wilson, and Reed Dasenbrock, recently named interim provost. Photo by Steve Carr.
Congresswoman Heather Wilson, joined by UNM President Louis Caldera, recently announced $3 million in federal funding for a major ecological research project in the New Mexico desert.

The Sevilleta Research and Education Center, located approximately 50 miles south of Albuquerque, is located in and around the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.

“UNM biologists and others do amazing work at the Sevilleta Refuge,” Wilson said. “Trying to understand our climate and our ecology is something we do at the most basic level when we turn the nightly news on to watch the weather. This project focuses on learning more about what drives our long-term climate. I’m proud to support this research and the work that UNM biologists do in this great outdoor laboratory.”

The refuge, managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, and its surroundings, are positioned at the intersection of several major biotic zones.

Because of the confluence of these major zones, the Sevilleta presents an ideal setting to investigate how climate variability and climate change act together to affect ecosystem dynamics at biotic transition zones. Additionally, the rapid growth and expansion of the City of Albuquerque and suburbs to the north increasingly will have an impact on ecosystem processes at the Sevilleta. These urban forces will interact with climactic variation to catalyze change in the aridland region.

The U.S. House approved the $3 million investment last summer in the Interior Appropriations bill. The final amount was included in the consolidated appropriations legislation signed by the President last December.

According to Terry Yates, vice president for Research and Economic Development, “Sevilleta is one of the nation’s premier long-term ecological teaching and research sites. We will now be able to conduct near real-time, on site analysis in a state-of-the-art facility in ways that weren’t before possible.”

The Sevilleta Research and Education Center will complement the current Sevilleta Field Research Station.

Once available, the center will streamline integrated research efforts of the New Mexico Research Consortium benefiting UNM, NMSU, New Mexico Tech, and Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs. Set in a national wildlife refuge, the facility will be used by scientists and educators from New Mexico and the southwest. “The Sevilleta Research and Education Center builds on New Mexico’s strengths by promoting research and sharing knowledge among the universities and national laboratories,” said Wilson. “I’m pleased that we’re making this investment. I believe it will yield benefits in preserving our environment and natural resources.”