"A Case Study for Identifying Climate Change Refugia"
With a look to the mammals of the California mountains, Toni Lyn Morelli will highlight her research on how to capitalize on the concept of climate change refugia in natural resource management. Historical survey data, occupancy modeling, species distribution modeling, and downscaled climate data demonstrate that a montane meadow specialist previously considered common has been extirpated from nearly half its California range, correlated with increasing temperature and precipitation. Climate projections indicate this species, and potentially the meadows in which it is found, will continue to disappear. However, populations are persisting in areas that have been transformed by humans, which Morelli has dubbed "anthropogenic refugia". Further insights are revealed from genetic analysis of the species across its range and comparison to other montane mammals. This research will be presented as an opportunity to examine one of the tools that can be used by natural resource managers to help species adapt to climate change.
Toni Lyn Morelli conducted this research as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, with further funding from the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative. She is currently the Northeast Climate Science Center Program Manager.