Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jessica Allen

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Lichens and bryophytes make up the majority of the diversity and cover in cliff systems around the world. Recently, with the rapid rise of rock climbing, there are concerns rock climbers are negatively impacting cliff communities. My study will compare climbed and unclimbed granite cliffs to better understand the impacts of rock climbing on lichen and bryophyte diversity and cover in eastern Washington. The objectives of this study are to assess the impacts of rock climbing on lichen and bryophyte cliff community diversity and cover and improve route development and cliff management practices for lichens and bryophytes. This study will also enhance the flora knowledge of eastern Washington. A conservation strategy will be created with the cooperation of the local Bower Climbers Coalition and the Access Fund of the Pacific Northwest to better manage the impacts of rock climbing on lichens and bryophytes. Recent studies on the impacts of rock climbing have uncovered species of concern and since the flora of cliffs is still very unknown, and rock climbing is on the rise, it is essential more research be conducted.