Survival and Adaptation in the Shortgrass Prairie: The Mid-Continental Steppe Ecosystem

  • Date : February 08, 2017 - February 08, 2017
  • Time : 07:00 PM - 08:00 PM
  • Location : Sheridan College Science Museum/Mohns Center
  • Price : Free and open to the public


 Sheridan College Museum of Discovery Science Lecture Series presents:

 Survival and Adaptation in the Shortgrass Prairie: The Mid-Continental Steppe Ecosystem by Matt Craig, Biology Faculty, Gillette College

Temperate grasslands are found in mid-continental locations throughout the world. Not only are they important as natural ecosystems with their own particular brand of beauty and specialized organisms, but they are critically important to the human food supply as they make up the “Bread-baskets” of the world.

 Weather patterns in the grasslands are highly variable and frequently harsh, and in response, plants and animals have evolved splendid mechanisms to cope with the challenges of the Steppe Ecosystem. Matthew Craig will discuss some of these adaptations and strategies used by grassland organisms. His presentation will include details about selected birds, mammals, fish, and even some of the prehistoric megafauna that roamed Wyoming only a few thousands of years ago.

Matthew Craig completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology and a Master’s Degree with an emphasis in herpetology at West Texas A&M University in the Texas Panhandle. His Master’s work utilized radio telemetry in an ecological and behavioral study of the Cagle’s Map Turtle, a species endemic to the Guadalupe River in South Texas. Craig went on to take additional graduate courses at the University of Oklahoma where he did research on Community Ecology of Stream Fishes with an emphasis in multispecies shoaling behavior. Craig taught Biology at Amarillo College for 17 years. He has been a faculty member for NWCCD at Gillette College for about a year and a half. He and his Sheridan College colleagues are diligently pursuing active-learning teaching formats and field-biology experiences for their freshman and sophomore students to improve learning processes and increase student success rates.  


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