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Scientists race to research a stonefly species that is threatened by climate change

Cooper McKim

Scientists know very little about a species of stonefly that can only be found in the alpine streams of the Grand Teton Mountain Range: the Lednia tetonica.

It was discovered in 2012. But as climate change slowly melts glaciers and threatens the aquatic insect's habitat, researchers are trying to learn as much as they can about the species before it disappears. Back in 2018, Wyoming Public Radio’s Cooper McKim went in search of the insect.

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Cooper McKim won a National Edward R. Murrow Award in 2019 for this story. A year after McKim went out with researchers, the stonefly became federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. And researchers have since found the insect in new streams in the Wind River, Absaroka and Beartooth ranges. They are continuing to monitor the streams.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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