Skip to main content
USGS - science for a changing world


Michael C Duniway

Research Ecologist

Canyonlands Field Station, SBSC

Office Phone: 435-719-2330
Fax: 435-719-2350
ORCID: 0000-0002-9643-2785

Canyonlands Research Station
2290 S. West Resource Blvd
Moab , UT 84532

Supervisor: Kathryn A Thomas
Explore climate change impacts on vegetation across the Desert and Southern Rockies LCCs using historical monitoring data collected from 23 sites across the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, Mojave and Colorado Plateau deserts for 30-50 years. This data will then be combined with ecosystem water balance model simulations to establish features of water availability critical for plant species response. Results will allow managers to identify species and communities at risk under future climate scenarios based on predicted changes in plant water availability. Due to the high variability in soils, incorporating a detailed understanding of soil water availability beyond bioclimatic envelope approaches in the desert Southwest is essential...
Categories: Project; Types: Map Service, OGC WFS Layer, OGC WMS Layer, OGC WMS Service; Tags: Decision Support, California, New Mexico, climate change, desert southwest, All tags...
​Abstract: Climate change predictions include warming and drying trends, which are expected to be particularly pronounced in the southwestern United States. In this region, grassland dynamics are tightly linked to available moisture, yet it has proven difficult to resolve what aspects of climate drive vegetation change. In part, this is because it is unclear how heterogeneity in soils affects plant responses to climate. Here, we combine climate and soil properties with a mechanistic soil water model to explain temporal fluctuations in perennial grass cover, quantify where and the degree to which incorporating soil water dynamics enhances our ability to understand temporal patterns, and explore the potential consequences...
Types: Map Service, OGC WFS Layer, OGC WMS Layer, OGC WMS Service; Tags: Decision Support, California, New Mexico, climate change, desert southwest, All tags...
Drylands cover 40% of the global terrestrial surface and provide important ecosystem services. While drylands as a whole are expected to increase in extent and aridity in coming decades, temperature and precipitation forecasts vary by latitude and geographic region suggesting different trajectories for tropical, subtropical, and temperate drylands. Uncertainty in the future of tropical and subtropical drylands is well constrained, whereas soil moisture and ecological droughts, which drive vegetation productivity and composition, remain poorly understood in temperate drylands. Here we show that, over the twenty first century, temperate drylands may contract by a third, primarily converting to subtropical drylands,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Drylands occur world-wide and are particularly vulnerable to climate change since dryland ecosystems depend directly on soil water availability that may become increasingly limited as temperatures rise. Climate change will both directly impact soil water availability, and also change plant biomass, with resulting indirect feedbacks on soil moisture. Thus, the net impact of direct and indirect climate change effects on soil moisture requires better understanding. We used the ecohydrological simulation model SOILWAT at sites from temperate dryland ecosystems around the globe to disentangle the contributions of direct climate change effects and of additional indirect, climate change-induced changes in vegetation on...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Water cycling and availability exert dominant control over ecological processes and the sustainability of ecosystem services in water - limited ecosystems. Consequently, dryland ecosystems have the potential to be dramatically impacted by hydrologic alterations emerging from global change, notably increasing temperature and altered precipitation patterns. In addition, the possibility of directly manipulating global solar radiation by augmenting stratospheric SO2 is receiving increasing attention as CO2 emissions continue to increase - these manipulations are anticipated to decrease precipitation, a change that may be as influential as temperature increases in dryland ecosystems. We propose to integrate a proven...
Categories: Project
ScienceBase brings together the best information it can find about USGS researchers and offices to show connections to publications, projects, and data. We are still working to improve this process and information is by no means complete. If you don't see everything you know is associated with you, a colleague, or your office, please be patient while we work to connect the dots. Feel free to contact