Increasing the resilience and resistance of climate-vulnerable northeastern species and ecosystems
Phase I: Determining causes of vulnerability- Completed
The NE CASC has as part of its mission to conduct stakeholder-driven research to understand climate impacts on freshwater resources and land-use change as well as ecosystem vulnerability and species response to climate variability and change. In the face of increasing temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, and large uncertainty, natural resource managers need to assess vulnerability of species in order to develop adaptation options and conservation strategies. This research evaluated how shifting climate is directly and indirectly affecting mammal populations in the northeasten U.S. We used a variety of methods to do this, including long-term data, field surveys, elevational transects, camera trapping, live trapping, radio telemetery, genetic analysis, and isotope analysis, as well as literature syntheses and project screening tools. The goal was to understand how current community dynamics may be altered given predicted changes in climate and habitat to inform conservation and management in the region. Final Report below.
Phase II: Adaptation through resilience and resistance
This project supports collaborations between the NE CASC and the Northern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service to increase the resilience and resistance of climate-vulnerable species and ecosystems. The project will reveal how mammal distributions are shifting in northern forest landscapes and investigate how climate change adaptation strategies, including conserving climate change refugia, could benefit forests, wildlife, and northeastern economies. After documenting changes in mammal distribution in northern forest landscapes associated with climate variation to help fill a critical data gap and help to inform regional models (Phase I), we will:
- Investigate and compare climate change adaptation strategies in order to improve management of climate-vulnerable forests and their dependent wildlife in the face of climate change.
- Make recommendations for conserving climate change refugia, areas buffered from climate change that enable persistence of species of conservation concern or economic benefit.
Red squirrels do not appear to be shifting in elevation, which is confirmed by NE CSC Fellow Tim Duclos's Masters work showing that they track habitat and not climate. Distribution dynamics of specialist and generalist carnivores are primarily influenced by snow depth with positive association for specialists (lynx, marten) and negative association for generalists (bobcat, fisher). Snowshoe hare density is higher at lowland sites where early regenerating boreal forest predominates. However, survival is lower in these landscapes compared to montane boreal forest that has some of the highest survival rates documented for hares. Both lynx and marten occupancy is negatively impacted by competition from bobcats (lynx) and fisher and red fox (martens).
- The Wildlife Society Conference Annual Meeting, Oct 2, 2019; Reno, NV
- Direct and indirect effects of climate and biotic factors on wildlife communities in the northeastern U.S. (Siren) Species on the Move conference, "Assessing impacts of climate-driven range shifts" (Morelli) Kruger National Park, July 26, 2019
- Morelli, Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) workshop in Burlington, VT, Feb 14, 2019
- Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative Annual Meeting, organized session "Wildlife and Climate"; plenary talk by Morelli "Climate change vulnerability and adaptation of forest wildlife"; and "Distribution dynamics of mesocarnivore populations along trailing and leading edges in the northeastern U.S." presentation by Siren, December 7, 2018
- Wildlife Society Conference Annual Meeting, Interacting Effects of Predation, Density-Dynamics, and Resource Availability on Southern Snowshoe Hare Populations, Cleveland, OH, Oct 10, 2018
- Looking beyond wildlife: Using remote cameras to evaluate accuracy of gridded snow data, MtnClim 2018 Conference, Gothic, CO, September 20, 2018;
- Interacting Effects of Predation, Density-Dynamics, and Resource Availability on Southern Snowshoe Hare Populations, MtnClim 2018 Conference, Gothic, CO, September 20, 2018
- New York Department of Environmental Protection moose working group workshop, Adirondacks, May 2018
- "The Climate Project Screening Tool: Incorporating Climate Adaptation into On-the-Ground Agency Activities", NEAFWA, Burlington, VT, April 18, 2018
- Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change working group meeting, New Hampshire, February 2018
- Climate change refugia, landscape connectivity, and translational ecology. Reed College Department of Biology, February 2018
- Using decision tools to assess vulnerability and manage wildlife response to climate change. Annual Michigan Department of Natural Resources Professional Development Training, Traverse City, MI, January 2018
- Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) workshop in Burlington, VT, Jan 22, 2018, which will incorporate some of the red squirrel and other SiMPL camera trap data
- University of Connecticut Department of Environment and Wildlife, November 2017
- Climate change refugia, landscape connectivity, and translational ecology. University of Connecticut Department of Environment and Wildlife, November 2017
- Northeast Forest Carnivore Working Group Workshop, SUNY-ESF Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC); Newcomb, NY, September 28-29, 2017
- "Integrating and implementing climate change in State Wildlife Action Plans", NAF, St Paul, MN, May 2017
- "Wildlife Vulnerability to Climate Change" at the NE CSC Regional Science Meeting in May 2017
- NE CASC webinar "Using Decision Tools to Assess Vulnerability and Inform Management of Wildlife in the Northeast", Amherst, MA, March 29, 2017
- 76th Annual Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, presented " The Northeast Climate Science Center: Improving the Way Climate Science Informs Resource Management" Lincoln NE, Feb 7, 2017
- Keynote speech at the annual meeting of the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association, "Climate change and the backyard gardener", January 21, 2017
- The Wildlife Society, "Climate Change Impacts on Wildlife" Hadley, MA, Nov 17, 2016
- A community perspective on the effects of climate change on species distributions in the boreal forest of the northeastern United States, AGU 2016
- News: Project Completed: Northeast Climate-Vulnerable Habitats and Species NECASC Mar. 26, 2019
- Multi-agency report: Potential impacts of climate change on snowshoe hares along the boreal-temperate ecotone in the northeastern U.S; Summarized research in New Hampshire and Vermont from 2014-2018
- Internal Report: Siren, APK, Kilborn, JR, Bernier, C., Royar, K. 2019. Distribution dynamics of mesocarnivore populations along range edges in the northeastern U.S.
- Devarajan, K., T.L. Morelli, & S. Tenan. 2020. Multi‐species occupancy models: review, roadmap, and recommendations. Ecography 43: 1–13.
- Morelli, T.L., et al. 2020. Biodiversity Change in the Slow Lane: Advances in Refugia Thinking. Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment 18(5): 228-234. doi:10.1002/fee.2189.
- Morelli, T.L./Smith, A.B., et al. 2020. The fate of Madagascar's rainforest habitat. Nature Climate Change 10: 89–96.
- Morelli, T.L./Wallingford, P.D.*, et al. 2020. Adjusting the lens of invasion biology to focus on the impacts of climate-driven range shifts. Nature Climate Change 10:398-405.
- Rubenstein, M.A., S.R. Weiskopf, S.L. Carter, M.J. Eaton, C. Johnson, A.J. Lynch, B.W. Miller, T.L. Morelli, M. Rodriguez, A. Terando, & L.M. Thompson. 2020. Do empirical observations support commonly-held climate change range shift hypotheses? A systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence 9(10).
- Rapp, J.M., D.A. Lutz, R.D. Huish, B. Dufour, S. Ahmed, T.L. Morelli, K.A. Stinson. (2019) Finding the sweet spot: Shifting optimal climate for maple syrup production in North America, Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 448, 2019, Pages 187-197
- Ontl, T. A., Swanston, C., Brandt, L. A., Butler, P. R., D’Amato, A. W., Handler, S. D., ... & Shannon, P. D. (2018). Adaptation pathways: ecoregion and land ownership influences on climate adaptation decision-making in forest management. Climatic Change, 146(1-2), 75-88.
- Sirén, A. P., Somos‐Valenzuela, M., Callahan, C., Kilborn, J. R., Duclos, T., Traggert, C., & Morelli, T. L. (2018). Looking beyond wildlife: using remote cameras to evaluate accuracy of gridded snow data, Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, 4(4), 375-386.
- Janowiak, Maria K. et al. 2018. New England and northern New York forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the New England Climate Change Response Framework project. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-173. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 234 p. 10.2737/NRS-GTR-173
- Galbraith, H. and Morelli, T 2017 Vulnerabilities to climate change of Massachusetts animal species of greatest conservation need, Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife Report
- Sirén, A. P., Maynard, D. S., Kilborn, J. R., & Pekins, P. J. (2016). Efficacy of remote telemetry data loggers for landscape‐scale monitoring: A case study of American martens. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 40(3), 570-582.
- Sirén, A., Pekins, P., Abdu, P., & Ducey, M. (2016). Identification and density estimation of American martens (Martes americana) using a novel camera-trap method. Diversity, 8(1), 3.
- Bassar, R. D., Letcher, B. H., Nislow, K. H., & Whiteley, A. R. (2016). Changes in seasonal climate outpace compensatory density‐dependence in eastern brook trout. Global Change Biology, 22(2), 577-593. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13135
- Foster, J. R., Finley, A. O., D'Amato, A. W., Bradford, J. B., & Banerjee, S. (2016). Predicting tree biomass growth in the temperate–boreal ecotone: Is tree size, age, competition, or climate response most important? Global Change Biology, 22(6), 2138-2151.
- Kanno, Y., Pregler, K. C., Hitt, N. P., Letcher, B. H., Hocking, D. J., & Wofford, J. E. (2016). Seasonal temperature and precipitation regulate brook trout young‐of‐the‐year abundance and population dynamics. Freshwater Biology, 61(1), 88-99.
- Letcher, B. H., Hocking, D. J., O’Neil, K., Whiteley, A. R., Nislow, K. H., & O’Donnell, M. J. (2016). A hierarchical model of daily stream temperature using air-water temperature synchronization, autocorrelation, and time lags. PeerJ, 4, e1727. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1727 9.
- Morelli, T. L., Daly, C., Dobrowski, S. Z., Dulen, D. M., Ebersole, J. L., Jackson, S. T., ... & Nydick, K. R. (2016). Managing climate change refugia for climate adaptation. PLoS One, 11(8), e0159909.
- Ralston, J., Deluca W. V., Feldman R. E., & King D. I. (2016). Population trends influence species ability to track climate change. Global Change Biology, 23(4).
- Ralston, J., Deluca W. V., Feldman R. E., & King D. I. (2016). Realized climate niche breadth varies with population trend and distribution in North American birds. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25(10), 1173 - 1180.
- Deluca, W. V., & King D. I. (2016). Montane birds shift downslope despite recent warming in the northern Appalachian Mountains. Journal of Ornithology, 158(2), 493-505.
- Sirén, A. P., Pekins, P. J., Ducey, M. J., & Kilborn, J. R. (2015). Spatial ecology and resource selection of a high-elevation American marten (Martes americana) population in the northeastern United States. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 94(3), 169-180.
- Foster, J. R., & D'amato, A. W. (2015). Montane forest ecotones moved downslope in northeastern USA in spite of warming between 1984 and 2011. Global Change Biology, 21(12), 4497-4507.
- Ralston, J., King D. I., Deluca W. V., Niemi G. J., Glennon M. J., Scarl J. C., et al. (2015). Analysis of combined data sets yields trend estimates for vulnerable spruce-fir birds in northern United States. Biological Conservation, 187, 270 - 278.
- Staudinger, M.D., T.L. Morelli, & A.M. Bryan. 2015. Integrating Climate Change into Northeast and Midwest State Wildlife Action Plans. DOI Northeast Climate Science Center Report, Amherst, Massachusetts.
- Trumbo, B. A., Nislow, K. H., Stallings, J., Hudy, M., Smith, E. P., Kim, D. Y., ... & Dolloff, C. A. (2014). Ranking site vulnerability to increasing temperatures in southern Appalachian brook trout streams in Virginia: an exposure-sensitivity approach. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 143(1), 173-187. DOI: 10.1080/00028487.2013.835282
- Russell, M. B., Woodall, C. W., D’Amato, A. W., Domke, G. M., & Saatchi, S. S. (2014). Beyond mean functional traits: Influence of functional trait profiles on forest structure, production, and mortality across the eastern US. Forest Ecology and Management, 328, 1-9.
- Katz, R., Grant, E. H. C., Runge, M. C., Connery, B., Crockett, M., Herland, L., ... & Nislow, K. (2014). Making decisions in complex landscapes: Headwater stream management across multiple federal agencies.