Newsletter 6.19.20

Friday, June 19, 2020

————NE CASC NEWS————

Combating Racism, Pursuing Justice: Our Statement on Recent Events     The Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in its commitment to eradicating white supremacy and pursuing an inclusive, equitable, and just society. Combating racial injustice is essential to our work because environmental racism has rendered communities of color disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  Climate adaptation cannot succeed unless the structures of racial oppression are confronted and dismantled. Read More >> 

Life in the Biodiverse "Slow Lane": CASC Refugia Research Featured in Special Issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment     CASC research has played a key role in advancing the understanding of climate change refugia, areas relatively buffered from climate change, and how their conservation may serve as an effective adaptation strategy. Now a new special issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment highlights the past, present, and future of this relatively new but increasingly prominent concept. Edited by NE CASC researcher Toni Lyn Morelli, the special issue addresses a wide spectrum of topics in the field, including refugia related to water, fire, fish, wildlife, forests, and the entire boreal biome. Read More >> 

New Publication: Prioritizing Range-Shifting Plants Based on Impact     Invasive species are shifting their ranges in response to climate change.  The Northeast has been identified as a ‘hotspot’ where up to 100 warm-adapted, range-shifting invasive plants could establish before 2050. But, effectively monitoring and managing for 100 species is an impractical and unrealistic strategy. Writing in Biological Invasions, a team of NE CASC researchers led by Bethany Bradley has recently identified a more practical number of species to manage by using an IUCN recommended impacts assessment called the Environmental Impacts Classification of Alien Taxa (EICAT). Read More >> 

Project Completed: Mapping Climate Change-Resistant Vernal Pools in the Northeastern U.S.     Led by Jennifer Cartwright, this project investigated existing management concerns that climate change may cause some vernal pools to dry earlier in the spring or summer than they have historically. Such a possibility could undermine metamorphosis for amphibians, which rely on vernal pools for breeding habitats. To better understand this issue, investigators analyzed factors controlling vernal pool inundation and generated models predicting pool-inundation probability under a variety of scenarios. Read More >> 

New Publication: Foundation Species Loss Affects Leaf Breakdown and Aquatic Invertebrate Resource Use in Black Ash Wetlands     The invasion by emerald ash borer of extensive black ash wetlands in the upper Great Lakes region is expected to alter plant community structure and composition as well as other factors like temperature and hydrology. This article, coauthored by  NE CASC principal investigator Anthony D’Amato and published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, details results from two experiments examining how changes in leaf litter may alter ecosystem function via changes in litter breakdown and aquatic invertebrate feeding. Read More >> 
Project Completed: Biological Thresholds and Mechanisms for Species Responses to Climate Change     A team led by Curtice Griffin recently completed the project, “Mechanisms for species responses to Climate Change: Are There Biological Thresholds?” This work responds to the widespread impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems across the NE CASC region along with the accompanying need to better equip natural resource managers with information that will help them maintain ecological function and species persistence as climate change becomes more intense. Read More >>
New Publication: Estimating the Timescale of Fluvial Response to Anthropogenic Disturbance Using Two Generations of Dams on the South River, Massachusetts    Writing in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, NE CASC principal investigator Jon Woodruff and his collaborators investigate the timescale of geomorphic response to anthropogenic disturbances. In the Northeast, forest‐clearing and agricultural practices following settlement led to deposition of legacy sediment behind mill dams, such as those constructed in South River, Massachusetts, from the late eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Findings suggest a short fluvial recovery time from the eighteenth–nineteenth century to perturbation during the first half of the twentieth century, with subsequent return to a dominant long‐term signal from erosion of glacial deposits and anthropogenic sediment persisting as a secondary source. Read More >> 

Project Completed: Development of a Wildlife Adaptation Menu for Resource Managers     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.  Responding to this accessibility issue, NE CASC deputy federal director Olivia LeDee and her collaborators reviewed 1300+ publications to identify recommendations for managing wildlife in the face of climate change. Their work is summarized in the Wildlife Adaptation Menu, a tool designed to expedite resource planning and decision-making. Read More >> 

New Publication: The Role of Sand Lances in the Northwest Atlantic Ecosystem     Though it is a comparatively small aquatic creature, the sand lance plays a significant role in sustaining the dynamic ecosystem of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Despite its ecological importance, however, most aspects of the sand lance’s ecology, population dynamics and vulnerability to current and future stressors in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean (NWA) are poorly understood.  Led by NE CASC science coordinator and marine ecologist Michelle Staudinger, a team of 24 researchers has begun addressing this information gap by producing the first comprehensive assessment the sand lance in the NWA. Read More >> 

————NE CASC Media Spotlight————
Tribal Adaptation Menu Team Featured on Yale Climate Connections Website     Yale Climate Connections recently posted a feature story detailing how Tribal Nations in the Midwest are responding to climate change. Highlighting the innovative and inclusive approach to adaptation planning adopted by many Tribes, the article focuses in part on the development of the Tribal Adaptation Menu. A unique document that merges Indigenous knowledge and culture with adaptation science, the Menu was developed by an expansive team including NE CASC principal investigator Chris Caldwell and Tribal liaison Sara Smith.  Read More >>

The Arrival of “Steambath Earth”: Radley Horton’s Research Covered by The Washington Post     According to a new Science Advances article coauthored by NE CASC PI Radley Horton, extremely humid heat that approaches a crucial, immovable human survivability limit has more than doubled in frequency in some coastal subtropical regions since 1979. Horton’s work is the first to conclude that wet-bulb temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which render ineffective the human heat response of sweating to shed heat through evaporation, are already occurring for short periods of time at a few weather stations. This work, which has wide-ranging implications for vast sectors of the global population, was recently featured in The Washington PostRead More >>

What It Takes to Protect Our Coasts: NE CASC Student Film     Waverly Lau, a former NE CASC undergraduate student researcher working under the direction of NE CASC principal investigator Jon Woodruff, has produced a short film detailing the importance of tidal marshes to coastal cities.  As Lau’s video explains, increased reliance on tidal marshes may help coastal areas better adapt to the problems of rising sea levels and erosion. Lau completed the film as part of her senior honors project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Watch the video >> 

————Upcoming Webinars————

Thursday, June 25, 12:00 PM ET
Forest Adaptation Webinar Series
Regeneration Issues

Kathryn Miller, National Park Service & Chris Zimmerman, The Nature Conservancy
Join Here:

Tuesday, June 30, 9:30 AM ET
OneNOAA Science Seminar Series
NOAA Eastern Region Climate Services: Heat Season Discussion

Samantha Borisoff, Northeast Regional Climate Center & Hunter Jones, NOAA/OAR/CPO/National Integrated Heat Health Information System
Join Here:

Wednesday, July 1, 4:00 PM ET
CCRUN Green Infrastructure, Climate, and Cities Seminar Series
Sustained Assessment: Adapting Climate Information for Local and Regional Scales

Anna LoPresti, CCRUN, Zena Grecni Pacific RISA & Benet Duncan, Western Water Assessment 
Join Here:

Wednesday, July 22,  12:00 PM ET 
Forest Adaptation Webinar Series
Managing Emerald Ash Borer and Climate Change

Anthony D'Amato, University of Vermont and NE CASC, Nancy Patch, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation & Pieter van Loon, Vermont Land Trust
Join Here:


Call for Applications: David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program     The Society for Conservation Biology seeks applications for the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program. These two-year postdoctoral fellowships provide support for outstanding early-career scientists who want to better link conservation science and theory with policy and management. The award includes a $59,000 annual salary, benefits and additional funds for research and travel. The application deadline is September 4, 2020. More Information >> 

Job Opening: Remote Sensing Scientist, U.N. Environmental Program
The United Nations Environmental Program is seeking a remote sensing scientist to act as technical lead on projects involving the application of remote sensing for the assessment and monitoring of biodiversity, human pressures and ecosystem services. The application deadline is July 5. More Information >> 

Job Opening: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Quantitative Fisheries Center     The Quantitative Fisheries Center at Michigan State University is seeking a research associate to apply age-structured stock assessment to Lake Erie percids and other Great Lakes fishes. The postdoctoral associate will work with managers and stakeholders to evaluate the potential effects of climate change on Lake Erie walleye recruitment and subsequent management among other tasks. More information >> 

Job Opening: Climate Scientist, Climate Central     Climate Central seeks a highly motivated, creative, mid- to senior-level natural or social scientist to play a major role in a new initiative designed to make accurate and effective climate communications ubiquitous. The successful applicant will spearhead a strategic effort to build an unprecedented library of ways to link diverse local observations and events to climate science, impacts, and solutions for dissemination to social media, journalists, and other key messengers, in near real-time. More Information >>