Of Mountains and Marmots: Climate Change in the French Alps

What to Expect?

Alpine areas can be severely affected by changes in the climate. Resident species, which are highly specialised to their environment, may be unable to relocate if their habitats change to the point where they are unable to survive. With Dr. Aurélie Cohas, you’ll use the iconic alpine marmots of the French Alps as a model species to investigate what characteristics influence a species’ ability to cope, or not cope, with climate change, and determine how they evolve as a result of the global phenomenon.

Against the backdrop of a stunning alpine landscape, you’ll set traps and collect dandelions as bait to capture marmot individuals. Once caught, you’ll help record the marmots’ biometric measures. You’ll carry out marmot behavioural observations and may help to record and film antagonistic behaviour. You’ll also help identify compositions of their family groups, and characterize relationships between members of different family groups.

Over the Sassière valley, you might also monitor chamois and ibex densities and endemic plant species abundance and distribution. You’ll be contributing to a strong existing dataset dating back over twenty years. The results of this important, long-term research project will provide valuable information to help predict wildlife responses to climate change and support effective conservation management.

  • Program ID: # 1578
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    French Alps, Europe Bourg-Saint-Maurice
    45° 21' 52.56" N, 6° 27' 17.28" E
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
  • Closest Airport:
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
    Learn Abroad

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