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Meghan Halabisky

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As the impacts of climate change amplify, understanding the consequences for wetlands will be critical for their sustainable management and conservation, particularly in arid regions such as the Columbia Plateau. The depressional wetlands in this region (wetlands located in topographic depressions where water can accumulate) are an important source of surface water during the summer months. However, their health depends directly on precipitation and evaporation, making them susceptible to changes in temperature and precipitation. Yet few tools for monitoring water movement patterns (hydrology) in and out of these landscapes currently exist, hindering efforts to model how they are changing. This project provided...
The goal of the Wetlands in a Changing Climate project was to provide consistent, wall-to-wall data on wetland location, historical hydrologic dynamics, and projected climate change impacts on hydrologic dynamics. We worked with managers to determine what products would be most informative, and what approach would help them use these data products to develop recommendations for climate-smart conservation of wetlands across the Columbia Plateau.
Abstract (from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425716300682): Wetlands are valuable ecosystems for maintaining biodiversity, but are vulnerable to climate change and land conversion. Despite their importance, wetland hydrology is poorly understood as few tools exist to monitor their hydrologic regime at a landscape scale. This is especially true when monitoring hydrologic change at scales below 30 m, the resolution of one Landsat pixel. To address this, we used spectral mixture analysis (SMA) of a time series of Landsat satellite imagery to reconstruct surface-water hydrographs for 750 wetlands in Douglas County, Washington State, USA, from 1984 to 2011. SMA estimates the fractional abundance...
Abstract (from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136385): Wetlands are globally important ecosystems that provide critical services for natural communities and human society. Montane wetland ecosystems are expected to be among the most sensitive to changing climate, as their persistence depends on factors directly influenced by climate (e.g. precipitation, snowpack, evaporation). Despite their importance and climate sensitivity, wetlands tend to be understudied due to a lack of tools and data relative to what is available for other ecosystem types. Here, we develop and demonstrate a new method for projecting climate-induced hydrologic changes in montane wetlands. Using observed wetland...
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Wetlands provide critical services to natural and human communities alike, forming important wildlife habitat, storing and filtering water, sequestering carbon, and offering opportunities for recreation. Unfortunately, not only are these valuable ecosystems understudied compared to others, but they are also among the most sensitive to climate change. Climate change threatens wetlands by altering temperature and precipitation, which cause changes in water level and water temperature. Due to this threat, the international community and domestic agencies alike have highlighted the need to better understand wetlands in the face of climate change, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to the Ramsar Convention,...
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