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UINTAS 2006: the Uinta Interdisciplinary Assessment Symposium, Snowbird, Utah, May 2006--Introduction

Munroe, J.S., Laabs, B.J.C., Moser, K.A., Gurrieri, J.T.
Arctic, antarctic, and alpine research 2007 v.39 no.4 pp. 517
mountains, national forests, ecosystems, plant ecology, soil formation, paleoecology, climatic factors, geology, meteorology and climatology, research, history, Utah, Colorado
The Uinta Mountains are a spectacular and unique range of the Rocky Mountain system. Running east-west for more than 150 km across northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado, they contain the highest summits in Utah (elevations greater than 4000 m a.s.l.), vast areas of alpine tundra, glacial lakes, immense compound cirques, and deep fluvial canyons. The range forms the northern and southern boundaries for many forest species common to the Colorado Plateau and the northern Rockies, respectively. It is also characterized by steep temperature and moisture gradients and is situated at the boundary between three air masses of the interior western United States (Mitchell, 1976). Indeed, the Uinta Mountains are an exceptional natural laboratory where questions germane to ecology, climatology, geology, and numerous other disciplines in alpine research can be effectively investigated. For example, recent research in the Uinta Mountains spans topics ranging from Pleistocene glacial chronology and climate (e.g., Munroe et al., 2006); to studies of lake and fluvial-sediment records exploring the impact of grazing, air-quality changes (e.g., Moser, 2005), and geomorphic processes on sedimentation (e.g., Carson, 2005); to Holocene treeline elevation responses to climate change (Siderius, 2004). In an effort to provide a forum in which researchers interested in these and other topics could meet to share and discuss their research, Jeff Munroe organized UINTAS 2006: the Uinta Interdisciplinary Assessment Symposium. This special section of Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research includes 10 articles describing results of Uinta Mountain research presented at the symposium, all of which either build upon previous studies in the range or explore topics of alpine research, chiefly geomorphology, limnogeology, biogeography, paleoclimatology, and ecology. The underlying goal of this special section is to highlight the importance of current and future research in this relatively understudied, yet accessible, region of western North America.