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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Climate-Adaptive Population Supplementation (CAPS) to Enhance Fishery and Forestry Outcomes

Project Leader:
Project Fellows:
Research Partners:
Peter McIntyre Cornell
Anthony D'Amato University of Vermont
States:
Maine
Vermont
New Hampshire
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Connecticut
+3 more

Overview

Society makes substantial investments in federal, Tribal, state, and private programs to supplement populations of valued species such as stocking fish, planting trees, rebuilding oyster reefs, and restoring prairies. These important efforts require long-term commitment, but climate change is making environmental conditions less predictable and more challenging to navigate. Selection of species for population supplementation is often based on performance prior to release, and one or a few species may then be used for decades even as the environment is changing. When these species are propagated in large numbers, they can become the dominant population as well as genetically overtake any local adaptations. Therefore, it is critical that population supplementation programs choose species that will thrive under future climate conditions; yet promote and maintain genetic diversity.  

Existing large-scale population supplementation programs offer a remarkable opportunity to advance climate adaptation for natural resource management in the Northeast and beyond. Climate-Adaptive Population Supplementation (CAPS) seeks to boost the efficiency of these population supplementation programs by developing portfolios of climate-resilient species. In this project, researchers will take a three-phase approach to developing CAPS: establishing the conceptual framework, comparing the performance of species across various climate scenarios, and designing portfolios of species to enhance climate resilience. This will shift the mindset of stocking and planting programs, supported by careful comparisons of climate-relevant traits and genes among species. Both scientific innovation and stakeholder engagement will be essential and should be pursued in tandem with multiple management frameworks in order to test and refine the broader concept of population supplementation in the Northeast.