Federal agencies

Also collaborating on these NE CSC projects

Brook Floater Conservation

The Brook Floater (Alasmidonta varicosa) is a stream-dwelling freshwater mussel native to the Atlantic Slope of the United States and Canada that has experienced large population declines over the last 50 years and is at high risk of extinction. This project will focus on strategies for achieving conservation for Brook Floater through multiple objectives:

1. We will develop standardized surveys that will be conducted throughout partnering states to estimate abundances and predict occupancy of Brook Floater.

Indigenous Planning Summer Institute

The purpose of the Indigenous Planning Summer Institute (IPSI) is to introduce concepts of Indigenous planning; Examine the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) theoretical model of sustainability as a guide for Indigenous Planning; Visit the Menominee community and forest and surrounding tribal communities to see different examples of Indigenous Planning in practice.

A Monarch's View of the City: Urban Monarch Landscape Conservation Design

The monarch butterfly is in trouble - monarch butterfly habitat has declined throughout most of the United States. Population levels have also exhibited a long-term downward trend with empirical evidence suggesting that loss of habitat is a major factor amongst other threats in driving declines . Preliminary research results from the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership indicates that stabilizing monarch populations will require a "conservation strategy across all land types" - including urban areas.

How and why is the timing and occurrence of seasonal migrants in the Gulf of Maine changing due to climate?

Shifts in phenology, or the timing of recurring life events, have been described as a “fingerprint” of temporal and spatial responses by biodiversity to climate change impacts. Thus phenology provides one of the strongest indicators of the adaptive capacity of organisms to cope with future environmental conditions. In this study we will investigate how the timing and occurrence of a suite of highly migratory marine animals is changing due to a series of climatic and ecological drivers.

Slowing the Flow for Climate Resilience (SFCR): Reducing Vulnerability to Extreme Flows and Providing Multiple Ecological Benefits in a Non-Stationary Climate

Current and future hydrologic variability is a major driver underlying large-scale management and modification of inland waters and river systems. In a climate-altered future, identifying and implementing management actions that mitigate anticipated flow regime extremes will be an important component of climate adaptation strategies. These concerns will be particularly focused on extreme flows (floods and droughts) that have ecological, social, and economic importance, and whose impacts are inversely proportion to their frequency.

One Hundred Parks and Counting: Biodiversity Findings and Outreach Impacts from a Nationwide BioBlitz

Connecting people, nature, and science is at the core of the mission of the US Department of the Interior. The National Park Service is playing a leading role in that mission in 2016 by hosting a national BioBlitz on May 20-21 that will have people nationwide recording observations of plants and animals in over 100 national parks.

Regional Effort on Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Management

Invasive species and climate change represent two of the five major global change threats to ecosystems.  An emerging initiative of the Northeast Climate Science Center aims to develop management-relevant research to improve invasive species management in the face of climate change.  Through working groups, information sharing and targeted research, this project addresses the information needs of invasive species managers in the context of climate change.

Coupled physical-chemical-biological models to predict losses of cold-water fish from inland lakes under climate warming

Cold-water fish are disappearing from many Midwestern lakes as they warm. This loss is due to a combination of de-oxygenation of the deep waters with heating of the surface waters. Together, these climate-driven changes squeeze the depth distribution of fish that require cold, well-oxygenated water, sometimes eliminating their habitat entirely. We will investigate where this combination of factors has likely caused extirpation of cold-water fishes, and where future warming is most likely to eliminate more populations. In addition to hydrodynamic modeling, we are partnering with genomics exp

Quantifying shifting fish migration phenology across the Great Lakes

The timing of major life cycle events (reproduction, flowering, feeding) is set by seasonal environmental cues in many organisms.  Migratory fish in the Great Lakes are largely spring spawners, and they move into tributary rivers as the water warms in March-June.  There is growing evidence that the timing of these migrations is shifting under climate change, creating ever earlier migrations.  These changes in timing may profoundly change which species are present in rivers at a given time, potentially unraveling critical ecological linkages during the dynamic spring warming period.  We are

Using decision science to inform management: A focus on climate change refugia

The field of climate adaptation is still getting established, and guidelines and examples for how to manage for climate change on-the-ground are still rare. The concept of climate change refugia, areas buffered from climate change that enable persistence of valued resources, is being discussed as a potential adaptation option in the face of anthropogenic climate change. This project seeks to provide practical guidance for how to operationalize this concept and to work with stakeholders to help prioritize actions to conserve climate change refugia.

Assessing potential impacts of climate change on carnivore occupancy and snowshoe hare demography along elevational and latitudinal gradients in the Northeastern U.S.

This project is evaluating the relative influence of climate, habitat, and competition on predator-prey dynamics with a focus on Canada lynx, American marten, and snowshoe hares.  Snowshoe hares are a keystone species in the boreal forest and vulnerable to climate change.

Air Quality Impacts of Climate-Induced Changes on Forest Composition

Forests play a role in air quality by supplying the atmosphere with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), precursors to ozone and aerosols. Different tree types emit different VOCs, each with different capacity to form ozone and aerosols. Therefore, shifts in forest composition may impact ozone and aerosol yields. Climate change is one of the expected drivers of forest change. In particular, the current range boundaries of a variety of species are expected to shift northward.

Predicting the fate and impact of watershed nutrient loads as Lake Michigan's hydrodynamics shift under climate change

Climate change is shifting the hydrodynamics and temperature of both the Great Lakes and their tributary rivers.  Both hydrology and temperature may play potent roles in mediating the magnitude of watershed nutrient load and their fate upon reaching the lake.  Tributary hydrology reflects the source of water (groundwater vs surface runoff) and seasonal timing of discharge, while tributary temperature determines the density difference between river and lake water.  Similarly, mixing patterns in these massive lakes strongly influence whether tributary loads remain near the shore or become dil

Linking Species' Responses to Climate Extremes

We are identifying historical relationships between climate extremes and species abundance, and then developing downscaled climate projections for the extreme climate metric. This information is then used to provide an initial projection of how the species abundance and location may change in the future. These initial assessments can help inform future assessments that consider broader types of climate and ecological information.

This prorovides information on how key species may change in the future, to help inform natural resource management.

Does Variation in Life History and Evolutionary Response Affect Species Vulnerability to Climate Change? Implications for Management

Climate change poses a variety of threats to biodiversity. Most efforts to assess the likely impacts of climate change on biodiversity try to rank species based on their vulnerability under changed environmental conditions. These efforts have generally not considered the ability of organisms to adjust their phenotype to the changing environment. Organisms can do this by one of two ways. First, they can undergo adaptive evolutionary change. Second, they can adjust their phenotype via non-evolutionary pathways.

Climate Effects on the Culture and Ecology of Sugar Maple

Maple syrup is produced from the sap of sugar maple trees collected in the late winter and early spring. Native American tribes have collected and boiled down sap for centuries, and the tapping of maple trees is a cultural touchstone for many people in the northeast and Midwest. Because the tapping season is dependent on weather conditions, there is concern about the sustainability of maple sugaring as climate changes throughout the region. In spite of this, maple syrup production is increasing rapidly, with demand rising as more people appreciate this natural sweetener. 

An Integrated Assessment of Lake and Stream Thermal Habitat Under Climate Change

Water temperatures are warming in lakes and streams, resulting in the loss of many native fish. Given clear passage, coldwater stream fishes can take refuge upstream when larger streams become too warm. Likewise, many Midwestern lakes “thermally stratify” resulting in warmer waters on top of deeper, cooler waters. Many of these lakes are connected to threatened streams. To date, assessments of the effects of climate change on fish have mostly ignored lakes, and focused instead on streams.

Pilot Study to Evaluate Coastal Change Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are a new and relatively untapped resource for coastal surveying within the USGS and the scientific community, and offer a number of advantages over ground-based surveys and manned aerial systems, including the ability to rapidly deploy and efficiently collect remote sensing data and derive high-resolution elevations over variable terrain. The project is designed to provide a low-risk, low-cost means to explore the utility of UAS for coastal mapping on beaches and marshes, and develop methodology and capacity to acquire, process, and analyze data.

Characterizing Local and Rangewide Variation in Demography and Adaptive Capacity of a Forest Indicator Species

Climate change will have sweeping impacts across the northeast, yet there are key gaps in our understanding about whether species will be able to adapt to this changing environment. This project will illuminate local and region-wide changes in forest ecosystems by studying the red-backed salamander, a species that is a strong indicator of forest conditions. This study will identify habitat and forest characteristics that improve the resiliency of forest dwelling amphibians and other wildlife to climate change.

Tribal Colleges and Universities: TCU Engagement with Tribal Communities on Climate Change Issues

This project is focused on the specific actions of CMNSDI as part of the CMN Campus and Menominee community to engage in climate change initiatives, as a means to provide demonstration and products that can be provided to other TCU's to consider and follow as they engage with their own communities on climate change and its predicted impacts to community life. This project will cover the development of educational materials for use in existing courses at CMN; an assessment and summary of existing TCU led or affiliated projects and any available results; creation o

Determining the Skill and Value of Incorporating Streamflow Forecasts into an Early Drought Detection System

This research investigates forecast skill in predicting the onset and severity of drought.  One of the unique features of NECSC research agenda is the active engagement of major a number of water supply utilities and an evaluation of how climate informed short-term streamflow forecasts and longer-range climate change forecasts influence the water supply systems.

Using Scenario Planning to Inform Land and Wildlife Management: A Pilot Project for Boreal Forests in the Northeastern United States

Scenario planning is one decision support method that can help managers incorporate information about future changes in climate and other drivers into their management decisions. The development of future scenarios (of climate change, socioeconomic conditions, land use changes, and ecological responses) can help state and federal managers understand plausible ecological futures, vulnerabilities, and opportunities as a result of climate change and related stressors.

Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Climate Action Tool

The Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool is designed to inform and inspire local action to protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources in a changing climate. This Tool focuses on providing information for a range of local decision-makers, including conservation practitioners, landowners, municipal agencies, and community leaders, seeking to conduct on-the-ground climate change adaptation efforts.

With this tool, users can:

Long-term record of Atmospheric N deposition interact with climate to influence estuarine impacts

Atmospheric depostion can be an important contribution to nitrogen loading in coastal regions. Atmospheric loading is suggested to have declined due to pollution control efforts, however the degree and impact of this has not been quantified on Cape Cod. Additionally, it is predicted that climate change, especially with respect to rain events and durations, may interact with atmospheric conditions to affect estaurine productivity.  This project will analyze a long-time series of atmpsheric N deposition and climate to determine trends and the associated impacts to estaurine systems. 

Using agent-based models to identify conservation solutions to large scale environmental variation and climate change

Effective migratory bird management and conservation requires an integrate approach at multiple spatial and temporal scales.  We are developing a spatially explicit agent-based model for dabbling ducks during spring migration. We are modeling foraging and resting behavior at prominent spring migration stopover sites throughout the midcontinent region.  Emergent properties of the working model include spring migration stopover duration, movement distances and survival.

Integrating Climate Change into the State Wildlife Action Plans

Fish and Wildlife agencies across the United States are currently revising their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs). These documents are important planning documents over 10 year timescales.  SWAP Coordinators have been challenged to incorporate climate change impacts and species responses as part of their strategic approaches to managing vulnerable fish and wildlife resources.

Climate Assessments and Scenario Planning (CLASP)

This project aims to compile, synthesize, and communicate tailored climate change information to NE CSC stakeholders, including Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC), state and federal agencies, and tribal communities. Our mission is to make climate science actionable by getting to know our stakeholders and the decisions they face, and delivering climate information that is directly relevant to their decisions and priorities.

Interactions between climate change and beavers in coastal streams

We are investigating the effects of climate on multiple aspects of river hydrology, inlding the interaction with expanding beaver populations in the Northeast. Our findings suggest that beavers increase water retentions, and sometimes flooding, in rivers which increases nitrogen removal.   Information from this project will allow managers and citizen groups to understand how the expansion of beavers will intersect with a changing climate to influence river flooding and freshwater quantity and q

Incorporating Social Drivers to Optimize Conservation Practices that Address Gulf Hypoxia and Declining Wildlife Populations Impacted by Extreme Climate Events

USFWS Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) throughout the Mississippi River Basin (MRB) have identified high nutrient runoff, a major contributor to Gulf hypoxia, and declines in wildlife populations (especially grassland and riparian birds), as conservation challenges requiring collaborative action. This project will develop a spatial decision support system (DSS) to address these issues.

Avian Indicators of Climate Change Based on the North American Breeding Bird Survey

Appropriate ecological indicators of climate change can be used to measure concurrent changes in ecological systems, inform management decisions, and potentially to project the consequences of climate change. However, many of the available indicators for North American birds do not account for imperfect observation. We propose to use correlated-detection occupancy models to develop indicators from the North American Breeding Bird Survey data. The indicators will be used to test hypotheses regarding changes in range and distribution of breeding birds.

Ecological and management implications of climate change induced shifts in phenology of coastal fish and wildlife species in the Northeast CSC region

Climate change is causing species to shift their phenology, or the timing of recurring life events such as migration and reproduction, in variable and complex ways. This can potentially result in mismatches or asynchronies in food and habitat resources that negatively impact individual fitness, population dynamics, and ecosystem function. Numerous studies have evaluated phenological shifts in terrestrial species, particularly birds and plants, yet far fewer evaluations have been conducted for marine animals.

Science to Inform Management of Floodplain Conservation Lands under Non-Stationary Conditions

Recent extreme floods on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers (1993, 1995, 1997, 2007, 2010, and 2011) have motivated expansion of floodplain conservation lands. Within the state of Missouri, for example, there are more than 85,000 acres of State and Federally owned conservation lands in large-river floodplains. Floodplain lands are highly dynamic and challenging to manage. Variable exchanges of water, sediment, nutrients, and carbon between the river and the floodplain result in a diverse, productive, and ever-changing mosaics of habitat patches.

Development of Dynamically-Based 21st Century Projections of Snow, Lake Ice, and Winter Severity for the Great Lakes Basin to Guide Wildlife-Based Adaptation Planning, with Emphasis on Deer and Waterfowl

Our project focuses on anticipated effects of 21st century climate change on winter severity, snowpack, and lake ice across the Great Lakes Basin and the response of wildlife populations, namely white-tailed deer and dabbling ducks. Winter conditions have changed substantially since the mid-20th century, with rising temperatures, declining lake ice cover, and increased lake-effect snowfall. Nonetheless, due coarse resolution, poor lake representation, and insufficient treatment of lake-effect processes in global climate models, basinwide climate change projections remain uncertain.

Impact of red squirrel distributional shifts on resiliency of birds in the face of climate change

Little is known about how shifting small mammal populations in response to climate change will affect the bird species that they predate.  This project is relying on historical sampling and 2014 field surveys and trapping to examine how red squirrel populations have shifted in the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire and how birds may be affected by these shifts.

A climate dependent metapopulation model of Marbled Salamanders (Ambystoma opacum) in Western Massachusetts.

Marbled Salamander reproductive failure is tightly linked to vernal pool hydrology and there are concerns that changes in precipitation patterns predicted due to climate change (drier summers and wetter winters with precipitation being more episodic), along with increased summer temperatures (increased evaporation and evapotranspiration) will significantly change current vernal pool hydrology and possibly lead to more frequent incidents of Marbled Salamander reproductive failure.

Assessment of paleoclimate resources for studies of climate extremes

This project is focused on compiling existing paleo-limnological data from lakes throughout the Northeast. The goal of this project is to create an editable database of existing chronologies and proxy data. This resource can then be accessed and added to by any paleo-limnologists working in the region. Based on the existing information, researchers will be able to identify "high-reward" lakes that may be targeted for future high-resolution paleoclimate analysis and also pinpoint regions of the Northeast that may be currently lacking sufficient paleo-limnological data.

Effects of small impoundments on stream temperature regimes in the context of a changing climate

Small dams and impoundments are ubiquitous in stream networks in the northeastern and north central US.  Concerns about their effects on stream fish population connectivity and their risks to human infrastructure and safety have prompted efforts to remove many of these dams.  Dams also have  potentially significant impacts on stream thermal regimes, and as a consequence their removal may either ameliorate or exacerbate effects of increasing air temperatures.  Also, given their ubiquity, temperature modeling and monitoring efforts need to account for the effects of small impoundments for ass

Insights into the long-term physical controls on estuarine food webs and implications for future change

We observed a strong influence of freshwater residency time on the contribution of benthic and pelagic production sources in the food web and a significant reliance on high marsh prey items with increasing inundation times for benthic consumers in our module. We infer that long-term changes in flow regime and inundation time will likely compress the influence of the riverine sources of production and increase dependence on high marsh and upland production sources.

The use of climate and land cover to predict avian abundance across the Midwestern United States.

We are using a Bayesian hierarchical modeling framework to evaluate land cover and climate relationships with abundance of avian species with varying habitat requirements across the Midwestern U.S. based on North American Breeding Bird Survey data.  We will then link these models to landscape change and climate models to evaluate potential long-term impacts on birds and evaluate proposed conservation activities to mitigate negative impacts associated with climate change.

Great Lakes Silviculture Prescription Library

This project is developing an on-line platform to enable rapid sharing and cataloging of silviculture case studies documenting adaptive forest management approaches across MI, MN, Ontario, and WI.  The goal of this project is to create a clearinghouse of information for forest managers across the region to disseminate ideas on addressing emerging issues and tracking effectiveness of a given approach.  The Prescription Library will serve as the basis for regional continuing education offerings for natural resource professionals throughout Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, and Wisconsin.

Developing historically-consistent and broadly-applicable monitoring, reporting, and verification system for quantifying forest change

Given the increasing impacts of climate change and natural disturbances on forest ecosystems across the US, there is a need for monitoring systems that allow for accurate and rapid detection of historic and future changes in forest area and carbon stocks.  This collaborative project between UMN, USFS, and NASA is piloting a Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) accounting system that could be used within the context of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory baseline reporting to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Understanding Conservation Management Decisions in the Face of Sea-Level Rise Along the U.S. Atlantic Coast

This project addresses a complex local scale conservation problem: managing the impacts associated with sea level rise and coastal flooding on migratory waterbirds and their habitat.  Decisions made by a conservation manager are complicated by three elements that can be expected to occur in almost any of these management situations.  Interactions among dynamic physical and biological processes affect both waterbirds and their habitat and food resources; these processes operate at local to flyway scales and are challenging to represent and analyze.

NorEaST – Stream Temperature Web Portal Demonstration and Application

Climate change is expected to alter stream temperature and flow regimes over the coming decades, and in turn influence distributions of aquatic species in those freshwater ecosystems. To better anticipate these changes, there is a need to compile both short- and long-term stream temperature data for managers to gain an understanding of baseline conditions, historic trends, and future projections. Unfortunately, many agencies lack sufficient resources to compile, QA/QC, and make accessible stream temperature data collected through routine monitoring.

Fitting the Climate Lens to Grassland Bird Conservation: Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability Using Demographically-Informed Species Distribution Models

To develop the framework to identify demographic sensitivities and assess the vulnerability of grassland bird species to future climate change. Objectives are to (1) Develop a strong partnership among managers and researchers to understand how climate change could be accounted for in conservation and management planning for grassland birds throughout the NE CSC region. (2) Develop spatially-explicit and temporally dynamic species distribution models for a select group of grassland birds.

A Decisions Support Mapper for Conserving Stream Fish Habitats of the NE CSC Region

To integrate results of a current condition habitat assessment of stream habitats that accounts for fish response to human land use, water quality impairment, and fragmentation by dams with estimates of future stream habitats that may change with climate.  This was accomplished by 1) Characterization of the current condition of stream fish habitats throughout the NE CSC region based on responses of target fish species to a diverse set of landscape-scale disturbances; 2) Identification of stream reaches predicted to change with climate and likely to change distributions of target fish specie

Making decisions in complex landscapes: headwater stream management across multiple agencies

There is growing evidence that headwater stream ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changing climate and land use, but their conservation is challenged by the need to address the threats at a landscape scale, often through coordination with multiple management agencies and landowners. This project seeks to provide an example of cooperative landscape decision-making by addressing the conservation of headwater stream ecosystems in the face of climate change at the watershed scale.

Ecological and hydrological impacts of the emerald ash borer on black ash forests

This project examines the ecological and hydrological impacts of emerald ash borer on black ash-dominated wetlands throughout the Lake States using large-scale experimental studies documenting impacts of black ash mortality on ecosystem processes, wildlife communities, and evaluating potential mitigation and adaptation strategies under future climate and invasion scenarios.

Modeling effects of climate change on spruce-fir forest ecosystems and associated priority bird populations

Eastern spruce-fir forest ecosystems are among the most vulnerable to climate change within the continuous US. The goal of this project was to develop tools to identify refugia sites most likely to support spruce-fir forest and its associated high-priority obligate spruce-fir bird species over the long-term under projected climate change scenarios.

Collaboration in Action: Using the Menominee Model of Sustainability to Assess, Plan, and Build Capacity for Tribal Communities to Address Climate Change in the Northeast Climate Science Center Region

This project seeks to implement the recommendations included in Science Theme 6: "Impacts of climate variability and change on cultural resources" of the NECSC Strategic Science Agenda as a baseline for future efforts in the Northeast region. Tribal nations (Tribes) in the Northeast region face different challenges and opportunities regarding climate change impacts. Each Tribe is unique in terms of its cultural, economic, geographic, jurisdictional, social, and political situation.

Distributional changes in spruce-fir forests and forest-dependent wildlife: effects of climate variability and climate change

Spruce-fir forests reach their southern limit in New England and the Upper Midwest, and are predicted by coarse climate envelope models to be greatly reduced or extirpated by climate change in the next century.  However, complex climatology, involving orographic effects and consequent changes in temperature and precip, along with substantial spatial variability, make it imperative that we understand where the most resilient stands are likely to be, and what the effects of these changes mean for spruce-fir associated species.  In this project, we take advantage of long-term surveys at multip

Forecasting Songbird Vulnerabilities to Climate Change

This project is focused on evaluating the spatial relationships of migratory bird movements and how they are mediated by environmental factors, providing resource managers a tool for assessing effects of potential climate change and wind energy development on bird migration. The research will have direct relevance to the management of protected areas, and he will work with cooperators to develop and deliver outreach materials and activities as a part of the project. 

Circulation patterns associated with climate extremes

The variability of winter precipitation over the northeastern United States and the corresponding teleconnections with five dominant large scale modes of climate variability (Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, AMO, North Atlantic Oscillation, NAO, Pacific-North American pattern, PNA, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, PDO, and El Niño–Southern Oscillation, ENSO) were systemically analyzed in this study.  Three leading patterns of winter precipitation were first generated by empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis.

Impacts of sea level rise on ecosystems

A reconnaissance study distinguishes coastal areas of the northeastern U.S. (approx. Virginia to Maine) that will experience an inundation-dominated response to sea-level rise from those that will respond dynamically due to physical and bio-physical sedimentation and erosion processes. Areas that will be dominated by inundation include urban regions of intense development and/or coastal engineering, as well as bedrock coasts. Areas that will respond dynamically include beaches, unconsolidated cliffs, barrier islands, and wetlands.

Assessing climate change projections over the Northeast

Using Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) and CMIP3 data, we are developing a range of projections for the Eastern U.S.  We are also developing extreme event projections for stakeholder-relevant metrics (e.g., days over 90 °F, days below 32 °F, and days with over 1 inch of precipitation) based on CMIP5 models and North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) dynamical downscaling.

Ecology of coastal migratory striped bass (Morone saxatalis)

Striped bass are a priority species for the Northeast LCC.  Subadult and small adult (375–475 mm total length) striped bass Morone saxatilis are abundant in northern estuaries during the spring through late fall.  However, little is known about how this important marine fish migrate among estuaries and use salt marshes as foraging areas.  This project assesses the migratory pathways of striped bass and is developing a quantitative understanding of diet and habitat use.

Effects of climate on wildlife demographics and population viability

We are investigating the effects of climate on multiple aspects of bird demography, including nest success, per nest productivity, juvenile survival, adult survival, and species viability.  We are using a long term data set on bird nesting success and new and existing data on juvenile and adult survival to discover climate effects on productivity and we are developing modeling approaches to predict regional species viability.

Predicting fire frequency with chemistry and climate

We are developing a predictive model for estimating fire frequency based on theories and data in physical chemistry, ecosystem ecology, and climatology.  We are applying this model to produce maps of fire frequency under current climate and several climate warming scenarios across the United States.  Results of the project will provide information on fire frequency under alternative climate scenarios, information needed to parameterize forest landscape change models.

Changes in Forested Landscapes of the Eastern United States Under Alternative Climate Scenarios

Forests in the Eastern United States are in the early- and mid-successional stages recovering from historical land use. Succession, harvest, and climate are potentially important factors affecting forest composition and structure in the region. The goal of this project was to predict the distribution and abundance of dominant tree species across portions of the Eastern U.S. under alternative climate scenarios from present to the end of the century.

Stream temperatures in the Driftless Area

The Driftless Region is blessed with an exceptional coldwater fishery (native brook trout and non-native brown trout).  Based on statistical modeling, it has been predicted that over the next 50 years brook trout will virtually disappear from the region and areal extent of brown trout will decrease significantly.  However, these predictions do not account for potentially significant increases in groundwater recharge and hence in baseflow as a result of likely increases in fall through spring precipitation and potential decreases in winter frost.  Nor do they account for the fact that basefl

Climate and disturbance factors affecting shifts between grassland and forest biomes over the past century within the upper Midwest

This project aims to quantify the range in variability in forest dynamics and climate responses for range-margin populations of Pinus banksiana and Picea mariana so as to generate management guidelines for conserving these forests on the landscape in an uncertain climatic future.  These species are the cornerstone for several upland and lowland habitat types on the western edge of the Northeast CSC and are particularly vulnerable to future changes in climate and disturbance regimes.

Effects of climate, disturbance, and management on the growth and dynamics of temperate and sub-boreal forest ecosystems within the Lake States and New England

This project is using tree-ring patterns and long-term data collections from natural and managed forests across the Lake States, New England, Intermountain West, and Black Hills to identify forest management strategies and forest conditions that have conferred the greatest levels of resistance and resilience to past stressors and their relevance in addressing future environmental change.

Downscaling of GCM output; studies of climate extremes

A statistical downscaling method (bias-correction and spatial disaggregation: BCSD) is applied to general circulation models (GCMs) from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) to generate high-resolution downscaled precipitation, maximum temperature, and minimum temperature estimates under historical and three future emission scenarios over the Northeastern United States.

Evaluating the impacts of climate change in the Connecticut River Basin

For the past four years, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have funded a study at UMass to evaluate the impacts of climate change on the biological resources in river and to investigate how the negative impacts of reservoir regulation could be ameliorated in the face of climate change.  It is fortuitous that this study provides an excellent basis for future “watershed” type studies that may be performed by the NECSC.

Effects of hydrologic change and variability on upstream limits of stream fish distribution

Coldwater stream fishes are widely predicted to move upstream in response to warming downstream river temperatures.  However, in the process they may encounter upstream limits, which are likely to be exacerbated by increased hydrologic variability if upstream locations draining small basins switch from perennial to ephemeral flow, with important but currently unknown implications for coldwater habitat and stream fish populations.  In this project, we will look at the current determinants of upstream limitation for Eastern Brook Trout in several (8-10 large watersheds) throughout their nativ

Decision-support for headwater stream habitats

Coldwater stream habitats are at risk from climate change, but management actions, such as removing barriers to passage and restoring riparian forest canopies, can in some cases help to ameliorate negative impacts.  Our overall goal is to devise and implement decision-support tools to help managers make climate-appropriate management choices.  We are currently working on several different approaches to this problem.

Designing Sustainable Landscapes (DSL)

This project is focused on assessing the capability of current and potential future landscapes within the extent of the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NALCC) to provide integral ecosystems and suitable habitat for a suite of representative species, and provide guidance for strategic habitat conservation. To meet this goal, we are developing a Landscape Change, Assessment and Design (LCAD) model for the NALCC.Two regional Landscape Conservation Designs  have been coproduced with regional stakeholders. Connect the Connecticut and Nature's Network.

Environmental Effects of Agricultural Practices, Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC – Literature search

The purpose of the project was to conduct an extensive search for both published and ongoing research that, in general, deals with climate change and agriculture in a water quality context for the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC. The search was two-fold; one portion of the search dealt with an on-line literature search for published peer-reviewed articles for the time period of 2000 (sometimes slightly earlier depending on the relative degree of the publication’s relevance to the topic) to present.

A Research and Decision Support Framework to Evaluate Sea-level Rise Impacts in the Northeastern U.S.

Previous approaches to quantify coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise have had major shortcomings, including the possibility that their underlying assumptions are not uniformly valid. This project conducted a study to distinguish the differing ways that coastal areas of the northeastern U.S. will respond to sea-level rise. This information will be used to develop a scientific research and decision-support program that addresses the cross-cutting and unique problems in these areas related to climate change and sea-level rise.

A Stream Temperature Inventory Network and Decision Support Metadata Mapper - Evaluating the Resources to Understanding Climate Change Effects on Streams in New England and the Great Lakes States

Stream data for the northeastern U.S. are needed to enable managers to understand baseline conditions, historic trends, and future projections of the impacts of climate change on stream temperature and flow, and in turn on aquatic species in freshwater ecosystems. This project developed a coordinated, multi-agency regional stream temperature framework and database for New England (ME, VT, NH, CT, RI, MA) and the Great Lakes States (MN, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH, PA, NY) by building a community around the efforts of this study.

Extending the Northeast Terrestrial Habitat Map to Atlantic Canada

Consistent and accurate landscape datasets are important foundational products for ecological analyses and for understanding and anticipating the effects of climate change on forested, agricultural, and freshwater systems across the U.S. and Canada. The objective of this project was to extend an existing terrestrial habitat map of the north Atlantic U.S. to Atlantic Canada and southern Quebec, using and modeling field-collected data combined with national and provincial datasets.

Bringing People, Data, and Models Together – Addressing Impacts of Climate Change on Stream Temperature

This study set out to answer the question: “What data and modeling frameworks are needed to provide scientists reliable, climate-informed, water temperature estimates for freshwater ecosystems that can assist watershed management decision making?”  To accomplish this, the study gathered existing stream temperature data, identified data gaps, deployed stream temperature monitoring devices, and developed and tested a stream temperature model that could be regionalized across the Northeast Climate Science Center domain.

Developing Fish Trophic Interaction Indicators of Climate Change for the Great Lakes

This project addressed regional climate change effects on aquatic food webs in the Great Lakes. Project scientists examined Lake Erie as a representative system with a high level of human impact, varying levels of food availability, seasonal hypoxia (low oxygen levels), and spatial overlap of cold- and cool-water fish guilds. In Lake Erie and in large embayments throughout the Great Lakes basin, this situation is a concern for fishery managers, as climate change may worsen oxygen levels and reduce habitat for some species.

Characterization of Spatial and Temporal Variability in Fishes in Response to Climate Change

Currently, there exists much uncertainty regarding how climate change will influence different populations or ecosystems. To improve current understanding and forecasting of population responses to climate variability, the role of variability must be considered when examining system dynamics and species interactions. This project will use an analytical framework to quantitatively estimate how variation in fish populations may respond to climate change and other important changes regionally.

Critically Evaluating Existing Methods and Supporting a Standardization of Terrestrial and Wetland Habitat Classification and Mapping that Includes Characterization of Climate Sensitive Systems

This project will facilitate coordination among the scientific community to provide a comparison of existing habitat classification and mapping products within the footprint of the Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC). This study will also provide an evaluation of habitat vulnerability to climate change within the region and recommendations for needed improvement in habitat mapping products for the future.

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