INSTAAR is a research institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. Our scientists investigate the mechanisms that drive environmental change, a mission that is becoming ever more urgent as shifts in climate and land use are felt worldwide. Our historical focus has been on polar and alpine regions, where effects of change are especially pronounced. Over time our research has broadened to include environmental challenges that span local, regional, and global scales. Topics include past and modern environments, human and ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape evolution, hydrology, oceanography, and climate.