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Abstract (from ScienceDirect ) Ecosystem accounts, as formalized by the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EEA), have been compiled in a number of countries, yet there have been few attempts to develop them for the U.S. We explore the potential for U.S. ecosystem accounting by compiling ecosystem extent, condition, and ecosystem services supply and use accounts for a 10-state region in the Southeast. The pilot accounts address air quality, water quality, biodiversity, carbon storage, recreation, and pollination for selected years from 2001 to 2015. Results illustrate how information from ecosystem accounts can contribute to policy and decision making. Using an example...
Abstract (from Wiley Online Library): Annual distributions of waterfowl during the nonbreeding period can influence ecological, cultural, and economic relationships. We used previously developed Weather Severity Indices (WSI) that explained migration by dabbling ducks in eastern North America and weather data from the North American Regional Reanalysis to develop an open-access internet-based tool (i.e., WSI web app) to visualize and query WSI data. We used data generated by the WSI web app to determine whether the weather known to elicit southerly migration by dabbling ducks had changed, from October to April 1979 to 2013. We detected that the amount of area in the Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways with weather...
Floodplains pose challenges to managers of conservation lands because of constantly changing interactions with their rivers. Although scientific knowledge and understanding of the dynamics and drivers of river-floodplain systems can provide guidance to floodplain managers, the scientific process often occurs in isolation from management. Further, communication barriers between scientists and managers can be obstacles to appropriate application of scientific knowledge. With the coproduction of science in mind, our objectives were the following: (1) to document management priorities of floodplain conservation lands, and (2) identify science needs required to better manage the identified management priorities under...
We present a case-study evaluation of gillnet catches of Walleye Sander vitreus to assess potential effects of large-scale changes in Oneida Lake, New York, including disruption of trophic interactions by double-crested cormorants Phalacrocorax auritus and invasive dreissenid mussels. We used the empirical long-term gillnet time series and a negative binomial linear mixed model to partition variability into spatial and coherent temporal variance components, and we propose that variance partitioning can help quantify spatiotemporal variability and examine if variance structure differs before and after large-scale perturbation. Here, we found that average catch and total variability of catches decreased following...
Although scientists have identified many ways to reduce the negative effects of climate change on wildlife, this information is not readily available to natural resource managers. For successful wildlife adaptation to climate change, natural resource managers should have current, peerreviewed information to guide their decisions. We conducted a review of over 1300 publications for recommendations to manage wildlife in the face of climate change. We then summarized the findings as the wildlife adaptation menu, a tool to inform planning and decision-making in an accessible format.
The responses of individual species to environmental changes can be manifested at multiple levels that range from individual-level (i.e., behavioral responses) to population-level (i.e., demographic) impacts. Major environmental changes that ultimately result in population level impacts are often first detected as individual-level responses. For example, herbivores respond to limited forage availability during drought periods by increasing the duration of foraging periods and expanding home range areas to compensate for the reduction in forage. However, if the individual-level responses are not sufficient to compensate for reduced forage availability, reduced survival and reproductive rates may result. We studied...
Abstract (from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0174045): Several studies have projected increases in drought severity, extent and duration in many parts of the world under climate change. We examine sources of uncertainty arising from the methodological choices for the assessment of future drought risk in the continental US (CONUS). One such uncertainty is in the climate models’ expression of evaporative demand (E0), which is not a direct climate model output but has been traditionally estimated using several different formulations. Here we analyze daily output from two CMIP5 GCMs to evaluate how differences in E0 formulation, treatment of meteorological driving data, choice of GCM,...
America’s remaining grassland in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is at risk of being lost to crop production. When crop prices are high, like the historically high corn prices that the U.S. experienced between 2008 and 2014, the risk of grassland conversion is even higher. Changing climate will add uncertainties to any efforts toward conservation of grassland in the PPR. Grassland conversion to cropland in the region would imperil nesting waterfowl among other species and further impair water quality in the Mississippi watershed. In this project, we sought to contribute to the understanding of land conversion in the PPR with the aim to better target the use of public and private funds allocated toward incentivizing...
A cocktail of land-based sources of pollution threatens coral reef ecosystems, and addressing these has become a key management and policy challenge in the State of Hawaii, other US territories, and globally. In West Maui, Hawai'i, nearly one quarter of all living corals were lost between 1995 and 2008. Onsite disposal systems (OSDS) for sewage leak contaminants into drinking water sources and nearshore waters. In recognition of this risk, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is prioritizing areas for cesspool upgrades. Independently, we applied a decision analysis process to identify priority areas to address sewage pollution from OSDS in West Maui, with the objective of reducing nearshore coral reef exposure...
The Hawaiian Islands are home to a variety of native species that have been subject to numerous threats including development of habitat for human use, predation by introduced herbivores, and competition with invasive plant species. In addition to these threats global climate change is expected to increase temperature and alter patterns of precipitation in Hawaii. This project models the relative vulnerability of native plant species to the effects of climate change, in order to assist resource managers in effectively allocating limited resources to efficiently preserve and protect current and future habitat for native plants. We modeled vulnerability by creating an expert system – a network model linking biological...
Reducing coral reef vulnerability to climate change requires that managers understand and support the natural resilience of coral reefs. We define coral reef resilience as: the capacity of a reef to resist and/or recover from disturbance given its probable exposure regime, and maintain provision of ecosystem goods and services. Spatial variation in exposure to disturbance and the resilience of reefs in the face of those disturbances will determine the fate of coral reefs within management jurisdictions. This project sought to: (1) undertake ecological resilience assessments in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), which is in the west Pacific near Guam, and (2) collaboratively develop a decision-support...
Abstract (from http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0088.1): A comprehensive understanding of the spatial, seasonal, and diurnal patterns in cloud cover frequency over the Hawaiian Islands was developed using high-resolution image data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites. The Terra and Aqua MODIS cloud mask products, which provide the confidence that a given 1-km pixel is unobstructed by cloud, were obtained for the entire MODIS time series (10-plus years) over the main Hawaiian Islands. Monthly statistics were generated from the daily cloud mask data, including mean cloud cover...
Abstract (from http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-13-00202.1): Traditional long-term (decadal) and large-scale (hundreds of kilometers) shoreline change modeling techniques, known as single transect, or ST, often overfit the data because they calculate shoreline statistics at closely spaced intervals along the shore. To reduce overfitting, recent work has used spatial basis functions such as polynomials, B splines, and principal components. Here, we explore an alternative to such basis functions by using regularization to reduce the dimension of the ST model space. In our regularized-ST method, traditional ST is an end member of a continuous spectrum of models. We use an evidence information criterion...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.10964/abstract): While the effects of land use change in urban areas have been widely examined, the combined effects of climate and land use change on the quality of urban and urbanizing streams have received much less attention. We describe a modelling framework that is applicable to the evaluation of potential changes in urban water quality and associated hydrologic changes in response to ongoing climate and landscape alteration. The grid-based spatially distributed model, Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model-Water Quality (DHSVM-WQ), is an outgrowth of DHSVM that incorporates modules for assessing hydrology and water quality in urbanized watersheds...
Climate change is already affecting species in many ways. Because individual species respond to climate change differently, some will be adversely affected by climate change whereas others may benefit. Successfully managing species in a changing climate will require an understanding of which species will be most and least impacted by climate change. Although several approaches have been proposed for assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change, it is unclear whether these approaches are likely to produce similar results. In this study, we compared the relative vulnerabilities to climate change of 76 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and trees based on three different approaches to assessing vulnerability....
A warming climate, fire exclusion, and land cover changes are altering the conditions that produced historical fire regimes and facilitating increased recent wildfire activity in the northwestern United States. Understanding the impacts of changing fire regimes on forest recruitment and succession, species distributions, carbon cycling, and ecosystem services is critical, but challenging across broad spatial scales. One important and understudied aspect of fire regimes is the unburned area within fire perimeters; these areas can function as fire refugia across the landscape during and after wildfire by providing habitat and seed sources. With increasing fire activity, there is speculation that fire intensity and...
Wildfire refugia are forest patches that are minimally-impacted by fire and provide critical habitats for fire-sensitive species and seed sources for post-fire forest regeneration. Wildfire refugia are relatively understudied, particularly concerning the impacts of subsequent fires on existing refugia. We opportunistically re-visited 122 sites classified in 1994 for a prior fire refugia study, which were burned by two wildfires in 2012 in the Cascade mountains of central Washington, USA. We evaluated the fire effects for historically persistent fire refugia and compared them to the surrounding non-refugial forest matrix. Of 122 total refugial (43 plots) and non-refugial (79 plots) sites sampled following the 2012...
Abstract (from ScienceDirect): Paleohydrologic records can provide unique, long-term perspectives on streamflow variability and hydroclimate for use in water resource planning. Such long-term records can also play a key role in placing both present day events and projected future conditions into a broader context than that offered by instrumental observations. However, relative to other major river basins across the western United States, a paucity of streamflow reconstructions has to date prevented the full application of such paleohydrologic information in the Upper Missouri River Basin. Here we utilize a set of naturalized streamflow records for the Upper Missouri and an expanded network of tree-ring records...
The global mean surface temperature increased 0.85°C during the period 1880 – 2012. Some climate models predict an additional warming of up 2 to 4 ◦ C over the next 100 years for the primary breeding grounds for North American ducks. Such an increase has been predicted to reduce mid - continent breeding duck populations by >70%. Managing continental duck populations in the face of climate change requires understanding how waterfowl have responded to historical spatio - temporal climatic variation. However, such responses to climate may be obscured by how ducks respond to variation in land cover. We estimated effects of climate on settlement patterns of breeding ducks in the Prairie - Parkland Region (PPR), boreal...