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USGS - science for a changing world

Provision and inventory of diverse aquatic ecosystem-related resources for the GPLCC


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The basic task of inventorying biodiversity has actually been under way for many years. Existing natural history museum collections, like those in which we work, can provide major contributions to such inventories in the form of valuable historic organism occurrence records, and their specimens can be used in many ways for basic research and applied conservation planning. Unfortunately, much of the wealth of information stored in natural history collections requires substantial investment to be made accessible and useful to natural resource managers and researchers. We were charged by the GPLCC with providing some of the inventory data that will be required, and to assess what other data may be available and what will be required to [...]

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Principal Investigator :
Dean A Hendrickson
Co-Investigator :
Sahotra Sarkar, Ann Molineux
Funding Agency :
Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative
Lead Organization :
University of Texas-Austin


The proposal for this grant was structured in two major sections and this report follows the same basic outline. The first major section in the proposal, “List 1 deliverables,” included a number of products that the PIs were confident they could provide by the end of the contracted project and all of those are provided and discussed in this report. “List 2 deliverables” of the proposal included many additional products that could potentially be delivered and it was the understanding of both parties that this section would be modified shortly after contracting via discussions between the PI and Program Coordinator, James Broska. PI Hendrickson and Broska met and an agreement on the content of “List 2 deliverables” was finalized in a memo from PI Hendrickson to James Broska on July 9, 2010. The structure of the “List 2 deliverables” section of this report thus follows the outline of that memo. All deliverables are discussed in this written report and its appendices, and text versions of all data sets are included in this report when feasible. All deliverable data sets will be delivered in electronic format on a physical hard drive delivered to the GPLCC Science Coordinator, James Broska and may also be downloaded via the Internet at with the user login “gplcc” and password “Fishy”. As noted in the Executive Summary, our report demonstrates how the GPLCC might obtain and manage the large basic biodiversity data sets that it will require to achieve its complex objectives over its large and complex landscape. We do this by focusing, for purposes of this demonstration, on Texas, where we already had the high quality and large biological (on fishes in our case) data set and landscape scale environmental data sets appropriate for such analyses. Though the GPLCC currently lacks such data sets, we compiled and provide occurrence data sets for diverse organisms that help initiate an inventory of data, and we provide copious metadata that will help it compile more. For the modeling analysis, we selected species that we believed to be of particular interest to the GPLCC and for which we had sufficient data to produce high quality distribution models. At the same time, as part of this project, we created new, high resolution, downscaled global climate change predictions (based on the most recent standard IPCC projections), and projected our fish models onto them to see how each species’ climatebased habitat suitability might shift if those climate projections are realized. Finally, we integrated the many species models and multiple biological factors known to affect maintenance of biodiversity into demonstrations of conservation planning protocols. These were constructed using models for the current time period and for different representation targets (proportion of each species’ distribution included) to demonstrate how conservation planning for all species might be affected over different levels of conservation priority. While what we provide through model construction and the conservation planning analyses is primarily a demonstration, we hope that we effectively demonstrate to the GPLCC that our methods are sound and productive and that they could be applied to other and larger data sets. The development of such data sets would facilitate progress toward the GPLCC's ultimate goal of managing the landscape and biodiversity it is charged to sustain into the future.

Project Extension

productDescriptionGeoreference locations for thousands of fish, amphibian and mussel species in the southern Great Plains. Conduct Species Distribution Modeling for current data and under climate change scenarios.

Budget Extension


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