Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New studies of impacts on US wildlife

A number of worthy new studies are being launched by US Geological Survey: ...“The U.S. Geological Survey has funded 17 new projects through the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center,” said USGS Associate Director for Biology Susan Haseltine. “Our future holds new climate conditions and new habitat responses, and managers need projections based on sound science to assess how our landscapes may change and to develop effective response strategies for species survival.” Several projects are summarized below, and descriptions of all projects can be found on the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center Web site.

…. USGS scientists are … creating Florida-specific models regarding which species and habitats will increase or decline based on potential rainfall and temperature change as well as impacts of human-induced land use and land cover change.

… USGS scientists and collaborators are updating models to predict 50 to 100 years in the future how water level, water temperatures and ice cover will change in the Great Lakes…..

San Francisco Bay marshes are at risk from sea-level rise, storms, altered salinities, changes in sediment loads and more. ….USGS scientists are developing models for this area to predict sea-level rise, effects on species and habitats, and whether marshes can grow at sustainable rates.

… USGS scientists … are creating climate models for North America and smaller scaled models for the contiguous United States and Alaska. Data will be incorporated into an online Web interface where managers can download information and produce maps of future climate conditions.

….As the climate changes and glaciers melt, the flow of freshwater in the Gulf of Alaska is altered, and impacts are felt across coastal ecosystems. …Scientists are studying these processes and impacts, with particular focus on the Copper River, which relies on nearby mountain glaciers and is the Gulf’s largest freshwater source.

….USGS scientists are studying how climate change will influence fish habitats and providing data to managers to help them assess extinction risks and develop appropriate response strategies.

As the climate continues to change, sea-level rise may inundate coastal and low elevation Pacific islands. … USGS scientists are mapping current species distribution and identifying the areas and species that are most vulnerable to sea-level rise.

A warmer climate can bring dryer conditions, threatening plant species in the arid southwestern United States as well as the wildlife that depend on these plants for habitat and food. USGS scientists will expand on existing models that outline climate change impacts to plant populations and include up to 30 plant species…..

A "Canyon de Chelly," panorama of valley from mountain. By Ansel Adams

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