Climate change is already changing ecosystems and affecting people in the southwestern United States. Rising temperatures have contributed to large-scale ecological impacts, affecting plants, animals, as well as ecosystem services, e.g., water supply. The climate of the Gunnison Basin, Colorado, is projected to get warmer over the next few decades as part of a larger pattern of warming in the western United States.
A recent NOAA study found that by 2040, Alaskan shellfish hatcheries may no longer be sustainable because of ocean acidification, unless serious mitigation efforts are put in place. We recently reported on a hatchery in Oregon that’s become a model for adapting to these different conditions. But the long term solution may actually lie in shellfish genes. Evolution and resiliency are the buzzwords for a sustainable mariculture industry in Alaska, a state that is particularly vulnerable.
Around the world, the human-induced collapses of populations and species have triggered a sixth mass extinction crisis, with rare species often being the first to disappear. Although the role of species diversity in the maintenance of ecosystem processes has been widely investigated, the role of rare species remains controversial. A critical issue is whether common species insure against the loss of functions supported by rare species.
In California much work is being done at the local and state levels to mitigate the effects of climate change, and develop adaptation strategies. In particular, California recently released for public comment “Safeguarding California: Reducing Climate Risk” – an update to the 2009 California Climate Adaptation Assessment. In it, decision makers specifically highlight the need to improve understanding of climate risks to biodiversity and habitat, among other recommendations.
Climate change can impact the pattern of marine biodiversity through changes in species’ distributions. However, global studies on climate change impacts on ocean biodiversity have not been performed so far. Our paper aims to investigate the global patterns of such impacts by projecting the distributional ranges of a sample of 1066 exploited marine fish and invertebrates for 2050 using a newly developed dynamic bioclimate envelope model. Our projections show that climate change may lead to numerous local extinction in the sub-polar regions, the tropics and semi-enclosed seas.
With rising temperatures and seas, massive droughts, and changing landscapes, successfully adapting to climate change is increasingly important. For humans, this can mean using technology to find solutions. But for some plants and animals, adapting to these changes involves the most ancient solution of all: evolution. Erin Eastwood explains how animals are adapting to climate change.
Climate change adaptation is a rapidly evolving field in conservation biology and includes a range of strategies from resisting to actively directing change on the landscape. The term ‘climate change resilience,’ frequently used to characterize adaptation strategies, deserves closer scrutiny because it is ambiguous, often misunderstood, and difficult to apply consistently across disciplines and spatial and temporal scales to support conservation efforts.
Adaptation is the adjustments that society or ecosystems make to limit negative effects of climate change. The Department’s approach to adaptation focuses on increasing the resilience of the Department’s assets, program activities, and mission responsibilities in response to climate vulnerabilities. Resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.
NatureServe Vista® is a free, ArcGIS extension that automates advanced spatial analyses for planners and managers. It is a highly capable decision-support system that helps users integrate conservation with many types of planning, ecosystem based management, ecosystem based adaptation, and scenario-based planning.
Estuaries are places where rivers meet the sea, providing nursery habitat for fish and shellfish while buffering many coastal communities from the impacts of coastal storms and sea level rise. The climate exposure of each reserve provides first alarm indicators about the effects of climate change on the coastal ecosystems. Ongoing research at each of the reserves provides real-time data about how climate change impacts these important natural resources.