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Assessing the impact of flow alteration on aquatic ecosystems has been identified as a critical area of research nationally and in the Southeast U.S. This project aimed to address the Ecohydrology Priority Science Need of the SE CSC FY2012 Annual Science Work Plan by developing an inventory and evaluation of current efforts and knowledge gaps in hydrological modeling for flow-­‐ecology science in global change impact studies across the Southeast. To accomplish this goal, we completed a thorough synthesis and evaluation of hydrologic modeling efforts in the Southeast region (including all states of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,...
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The Southeastern U.S. spans broad ranges of physiographic settings and contains a wide variety of aquatic systems that provide habitat for hundreds of endemic aquatic species that pose interesting challenges and opportunities for managers of aquatic resources, particularly in the face of climate change. For example, the Southeast contains the southernmost populations of the eastern brook trout and other cold-water dependent species. Climate change is predicted to increase temperatures in the South and is likely to have a substantial effect on extant populations of cold-water biota. Thus, aquatic managers are tasked with developing strategies for preserving cold-water dependent biota, such as eastern brook trout,...
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National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) along the East Coast of the United States protect habitat for a host of wildlife species, while also offering storm surge protection, improving water quality, supporting nurseries for commercially important fish and shellfish, and providing recreation opportunities for coastal communities. Yet in the last century, coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by human development activities as well as sea-level rise and more frequent extreme events related to climate change. These influences threaten the ability of NWRs to protect our nation’s natural resources and to sustain their many beneficial services. Through this project, researchers are collaborating with...
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Coastal wetlands and the many beneficial services they provide (e.g., purifying water, buffering storm surge, providing habitat) are changing and disappearing as a result of sea-level rise brought about by climate change. Scientists have developed a wealth of information and resources to predict and aid decision-making related to sea-level rise. However, while some of these resources are easily accessible by coastal managers, many others require more expert knowledge to understand or utilize. The goal of this project was to collate science and models pertaining to the effects of sea-level on coastal wetlands into a format that would be accessible and useful to resource managers. Researchers conducted training sessions...
Efforts to conserve stream and river biota could benefit from tools that allow managers to evaluate landscape-scale changes in species distributions in response to water management decisions. We present a framework and methods for integrating hydrology, geographic context and metapopulation processes to simulate effects of changes in streamflow on fish occupancy dynamics across a landscape of interconnected stream segments. We illustrate this approach using a 482 km2 catchment in the southeastern US supporting 50 or more stream fish species. A spatially distributed, deterministic and physically based hydrologic model is used to simulate daily streamflow for sub-basins composing the catchment. We use geographic data...
We developed a spatially explicit model that simulated future southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis, SPB) dynamics and pine forest management for a real landscape over 60 years to inform regional forest management. The SPB has a considerable effect on forest dynamics in the Southeastern United States, especially in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands that are managed for timber production. Regional outbreaks of SPB occur in bursts resulting in elimination of entire stands and major economic loss. These outbreaks are often interspersed with decades of inactivity, making long-term modeling of SPB dynamics challenging. Forest management techniques, including thinning, have proven effective and are often recommended...
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This data set contains links that are important to each species' habitat network. Those important links are scored based on the percent currently under protection status, projected change in climate suitability by the middle of the 21st century, and projected change in percent urbanized by the middle of the 21st century. Important links were identified from all links in the networks of each species based on their Integral Index of Connectivity (dIIC). Any links with dIIC scores > 0.9 or which connected to nodes with dIIC > 0.9 were retained here as "important" links.
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Winter climate change has the potential to have a large impact on coastal wetlands in the southeastern U.S. Warmer winter temperatures and reductions in the intensity of freeze events would likely lead to mangrove forest range expansion and salt marsh displacement in parts of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast. The objective of this research was to better understand some of the ecological implications of mangrove forest migration and salt marsh displacement. The potential ecological effects of mangrove migration are diverse ranging from important biotic impacts (e.g., coastal fisheries, land bird migration; colonial nesting wading birds) to ecosystem stability (e.g., response to sea level rise and drought;...
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Winter climate change has the potential to have a large impact on coastal wetlands in the southeastern U.S. Warmer winter temperatures and reductions in the intensity of freeze events would likely lead to mangrove forest range expansion and salt marsh displacement in parts of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast. The objective of this research was to better understand some of the ecological implications of mangrove forest migration and salt marsh displacement. The potential ecological effects of mangrove migration are diverse ranging from important biotic impacts (e.g., coastal fisheries, land bird migration; colonial nesting wading birds) to ecosystem stability (e.g., response to sea level rise and drought;...
These data represent the extent of urbanization (for the year indicated) predicted by the model SLEUTH, developed by Dr. Keith C. Clarke, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Geography and modified by David I. Donato of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Eastern Geographic Science Center (EGSC). Further model modification and implementation was performed at the Biodiversity and Spatial Information Center at North Carolina State University
Population changes and shifts in geographic range boundaries induced by climate change have been documented for many insect species. On the basis of such studies, ecological forecasting models predict that, in the absence of dispersal and resource barriers, many species will exhibit large shifts in abundance and geographic range in response to warming. However, species are composed of individual populations, which may be subject to different selection pressures and therefore may be differentially responsive to environmental change. Asystematic responses across populations and species to warming will alter ecological communities differently across space. Common garden experiments can provide a more mechanistic understanding...
Abstract (from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0173844): Urban habitats are characterized by impervious surfaces, which increase temperatures and reduce water availability to plants. The effects of these conditions on herbivorous insects are not well understood, but may provide insight into future conditions. Three primary hypotheses have been proposed to explain why multiple herbivorous arthropods are more abundant and damaging in cities, and support has been found for each. First, less complex vegetation may reduce biological control of pests. Second, plant stress can increase plant quality for pests. And third, urban warming can directly increase pest fitness and abundance. These...
Abstract (from http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/11-2296.1): Physiological tolerance of environmental conditions can influence species-level responses to climate change. Here, we used species-specific thermal tolerances to predict the community responses of ant species to experimental forest-floor warming at the northern and southern boundaries of temperate hardwood forests in eastern North America. We then compared the predictive ability of thermal tolerance vs. correlative species distribution models (SDMs) which are popular forecasting tools for modeling the effects of climate change. Thermal tolerances predicted the responses of 19 ant species to experimental climate warming at the southern site,...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1752-1688.12304/abstract): The hydrologic response to statistically downscaled general circulation model simulations of daily surface climate and land cover through 2099 was assessed for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin located in the southeastern United States. Projections of climate, urbanization, vegetation, and surface-depression storage capacity were used as inputs to the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System to simulate projected impacts on hydrologic response. Surface runoff substantially increased when land cover change was applied. However, once the surface depression storage was added to mitigate the land cover change and increases...
The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative and the Southeast Climate Science Center developed a new resource - Keeping Pace: A short guide to navigating sea-level rise models! This quick four pager covers the importance of model selection, helpful concepts, model categories, and an example of how to utilize these models to address coastal issues. This resource was largely informed by the Sea-Level Rise Modeling Handbook: Resource Guide for Coastal Land Managers, Engineers, and Scientists, which resulted from a Southeast CSC funded project.
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A hydrologic model was developed as part of the Southeast Regional Assessment Project using the Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS), a deterministic, distributed-parameter, process-based system that simulates the effects of precipitation, temperature, and land use on basin hydrology. Streamflow and other components of the hydrologic cycle simulated by PRMS were used to inform other types of simulations such as water-temperature, hydrodynamic, and ecosystem-dynamics simulations.
Researchers at NC State University have been funded by the US DOI Southeast Climate Science Center to help the National Park Service plan for adapting cultural resources under changing climate conditions. Dr. Sandra Fatorić, Post-Doctoral Research Scholar, and Dr. Erin Seekamp, Associate Professor and Tourism Extension Specialist, focused their efforts on the Cape Lookout National Seashore, located on a 56-mile long chain of barrier islands on the North Carolina coast, as their study site.
Characterizing the risks of anthropogenic climate change poses considerable statistical challenges. A key problem is how to combine the information contained in large-scale observational data sets with simulations of Earth system models in a statistically sound and computationally tractable manner. Here, we describe a statistical approach for improving projections of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The AMOC is part of the global ocean conveyor belt circulation and transfers heat between low and high latitudes in the Atlantic basin. The AMOC might collapse in a “tipping point” response to anthropogenic climate forcings. Assessing the risk of an AMOC collapse is of considerable interest...


map background search result map search result map USGS-USFS Partnership to Help Managers Evaluate Conservation Strategies for Aquatic Ecosystems based on Future Climate Projections A Handbook for Resource Managers to Understand and Utilize Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Wetland Models New soil data collection: subplot-level shear strength New porewater data collection: subplot-level physicochemical SERAP:  Modeling of Hydrologic Systems Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Important links for Black bear, Rafinesque's big-eared bat, and timber rattlesnake Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges SERAP:  Modeling of Hydrologic Systems New soil data collection: subplot-level shear strength New porewater data collection: subplot-level physicochemical USGS-USFS Partnership to Help Managers Evaluate Conservation Strategies for Aquatic Ecosystems based on Future Climate Projections Important links for Black bear, Rafinesque's big-eared bat, and timber rattlesnake A Handbook for Resource Managers to Understand and Utilize Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Wetland Models