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Synthesizing Climate Change Impacts on Wildlife Health and Identifying Adaptation Strategies

Synthesis of Current and Future Risks of Climate Change to Wildlife Health and Identification of Potential Mitigation Strategies
Principal Investigator
Erik Hofmeister


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Changing climate conditions could have significant impacts on wildlife health. Shifts in temperature and precipitation may directly affect the occurrence of disease in fish and wildlife by altering their interactions with pathogens (such as the bacterium that causes Lyme disease), helping vectors like mosquitoes and ticks expand their range, or speeding up the time it takes for a parasite to develop from an egg to an adult. Climate change can also indirectly affect the health of fish and wildlife as their habitats change. For example, reduced food availability could lead to overcrowding and increased disease transmission, or warmer temperatures might increase stress levels, weakening immune systems and making animals more susceptible [...]

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“Caribou, Arctic Coastal Plain - Credit: USGS”
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Climate change can affect the health of wildlife by affecting the interaction of hosts, such as wild mice, and pathogens, such as the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Climate change may also affect the geographic range that vectors, such as mosquitoes and ticks, are found or the time it takes for vectors to develop from egg to adult. It may also affect the time it takes for certain pathogens, such as the virus that causes West Nile virus infection, to develop within vectors. Climate change can also affect wildlife health indirectly through shifting the characteristics of habitat. This might lead to overcrowding due to reduced resources or increased stress levels due to an inability of hosts to tolerate heat. We will summarize existing literature on the impacts of climate change on wildlife health and conduct a workshop with USGS stakeholders and experts to develop research priorities for the next 3-5 years. The ultimate goal is to develop adaptation or mitigation strategies to protect natural resources from the impact of climate change.

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Caribou, Arctic Coastal Plain - Credit: USGS
Caribou, Arctic Coastal Plain - Credit: USGS


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • Alaska CASC
  • National CASC
  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • North Central CASC
  • Northeast CASC
  • Northwest CASC
  • Pacific Islands CASC
  • South Central CASC
  • Southeast CASC
  • Southwest CASC



Additional Information


Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 8c582250-a20e-4ed5-8f5e-42c4ad8fc6ed
StampID NCCWSC NE18-HE1498

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