December 2011

R5 Science Seminar Series 2011

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Date: Tuesday, December 20th, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m., Northeast Region Office Large Auditorium or click here to view the archive.

Presentation: Evaluating the Vulnerabilities of Ecological Resources to Climate Change in the Northeast

Presenter: Dr. Hector Galbraith, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Manomet, Massachusetts and Lesley Sneddon, Senior Regional Ecologist, NatureServe, Boston, Massachusetts


Hector Galbraith - With his original training and research in zoology and avian ecology, Dr. Galbraith has, since the mid 1990s, focused much of his attention on climate change and the likely impacts that it will have on plants and animals. His work has been funded by a number of state and federal agencies and foundations. Most recently he has been focusing on how we, as conservation agencies, will have to modify our practices if we are preserve valued natural resources. He received his BSc and PhD from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Lesley Sneddon - Lesley Sneddon is a Senior Regional Ecologist with NatureServe, working primarily in the northeastern states from Maine to Virginia. She has collaborated on numerous projects, including development of the US National Vegetation Classification, Northeastern Terrestrial Habitat Classification, development of ecological integrity criteria, conservation status ranks for ecosystems, conservation planning, and most recently on climate change vulnerability of representative species and the relationship to habitats.

Abstract: If we are continue to conserve important and valued natural resources under climate change, it is critical that we understand which resources may be particularly at risk (and which may be less at risk or may benefit), and how, exactly, they may be affected. Also, it is likely that the vulnerabilities of any plants and animals will vary geographically across the Northeast Region. The purpose of this two-part project is to first evaluate the vulnerabilities of selected fish, wildlife and plant habitats in the Northeast Region, to evaluate their fates under a changing climate, and to map how their vulnerabilities vary across the entire region and second to evaluate the vulnerability of selected species to complement this assessment of habitats. These include representative species; high concern, high responsibility state Species of Greatest Conservation Need; and species that are foundational to the habitats evaluated in the first part of the project. The species vulnerability assessment is utilizing the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index approach. The principal investigators are working with state and federal agencies and organizations involving them in the project to increase their knowledge of climate change and its likely impacts, and thereby building their capacities to respond to a changing climate. These projects are being undertaken by Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, National Wildlife Federation and NatureServe working with the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (through their Regional Conservation Needs program) and the North Atlantic LCC.

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