R5 Science Seminar Series 2013
Date: Thursday, August 29, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m., Northeast Region Office Large Auditorium. This presentation will be conducted via webinar. Information to connect to the webex presentation is provided below.
Title: Assessing priority amphibian and reptile conservation areas (PARCAs) in the NA-LCC and determining vulnerability of these areas to climate change
Allison T. Moody, Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
Bill Sutton, School of Agriculture, Forest and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC,
Cynthia Loftin, USGS, Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Maine, Orono, ME,
Phillip deMaynadier, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Bangor, ME,
Kyle Barrett, School of Agriculture, Forest and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC,
Priya Nanjappa, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 725, Washington DC
Abstract: Reptile and amphibian populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, pollution, disease, illegal collection, and introduced species. Yet formulating conservation strategies is limited by a lack of information about population status and distributions. Comprehensive surveys rarely document species distributions across large regions such as the northeastern U.S., and opportunistic sightings can be biased towards easily detected species in accessible areas. Additionally, conservation planning for herpetofauna is handicapped by a lack of information about anticipated changes in habitat expected with changing climate.
We are modeling reptile and amphibian occurrences in the northeastern United States to identify Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas (PARCAs) where conservation resources can be focused on species of global, national, or regional conservation significance and on areas of exceptional herpetological diversity. We are using biotic and abiotic variables (e.g., temperature, precipitation, hydrology, land cover) and known species occurrences in Program Maxent, to predict potentially high quality sites, or PARCAs, for priority herpetofauna. We also are considering landscape integrity of potential PARCAs, with greater value assigned to extensive, contiguous habitat patches that can support viable populations.
PARCA delineation for conservation of reptiles and amphibians also must consider long-term effects of ecological stressors on priority populations. Climate change represents one of the most complex and globally important ecological factors affecting ecosystems, and pro-active conservation planning that incorporates these anticipated changes is essential to long-term viability of natural systems. Our assessment of PARCA vulnerability to climate change will incorporate exposure (i.e., extent of climate change experienced by a species or locale), sensitivity (i.e., degree to which survival, persistence, or fitness may be affected), and adaptive capacity (i.e., capacity of a species or locale to cope with climate change). We will use a variety of spatially-explicit metrics including projected temperature change, projected land use change, priority amphibian and reptile species sensitivity metrics, geographic context, patch size, and topographic relief in a GIS-based framework to assess climate change vulnerability of selected PARCAs.
Our efforts will provide a repeatable, science-based approach for identifying high value areas of the landscape for conserving priority reptile and amphibian populations, as well as a method for assessing the resiliency of such areas to climate change and other potential future stressors. This project is supported by the North Atlantic LCC, U.S. Geological Survey Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Maine, University of Georgia, Clemson University, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Northeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.
Date: Thursday, August 8, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m., Northeast Region Office Large Auditorium. This presentation will be conducted via webinar. Information to connect to the webex presentation is provided below.
Title: Mapping the Distribution, Abundance and Risk Assessment of Marine Birds in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean: Phase I, Proof of Concept and Techniques Development
Presenters: Beth Gardner(1), Brian Reich(1), Earvin Balderama(1), Andrew Gilbert(2), Kate Williams(2), Brian Kinlan (3), Robert Rankin (3), and Richard Veit (4)
1. NC State
2. Biodiversity Research Institute
3. NOAA-NCCOS-Biogeography Branch
4. CUNY-Staten Island
Abstract: In this seminar, we will discuss progress towards developing maps depicting the distribution, abundance and relative risk to marine birds from offshore activities (e.g., wind energy development) in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. Our goal in this effort is to develop and demonstrate techniques to document and predict areas of frequent use and aggregations of birds and the relative risk to marine birds within these areas. The resulting map products are intended to help inform decisions about siting offshore facilities; marine spatial planning; and other uses requiring maps of seabird distributions. This North Atlantic LCC project is supporting several components of map and technique development by leveraging several large, ongoing projects funded by BOEM, DOE, USGS, and NOAA and involving research groups at the Biodiversity Research Institute, NC State University, CUNY-Staten Island, the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science-Biogeography Branch.