NCCWSC Research Fisheries Biologist Featured by Partner Organization

Climate change is expected to have a range of impacts on fish populations, both in the United States and globally. Dr. Abigail (Abby) Lynch, Research Fisheries Biologist for the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC), has been examining these impacts for a number of years now and received her PhD at the Michigan State University with her dissertation titled: “Designing a decision-support tool for harvest management of Great Lakes lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) in a changing climate.” 

Abby Lynch

Abby's current work with NCCWSC includes involvement in several projects related to fisheries and climate change, as well as a national synthesis project on the ecological impacts of drought. Abby's work, and the pathway to her current position, was recently featured in a member spotlight by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Check out the feature here to learn more about Abby's work and to learn why Abby believes that research science is a public service!    

Climate Science Center Research Supports Coastal Tribes and Indigenous Communities

Sea level rise and other climate change impacts are already having an effect on coastal areas, threatening important cultural and natural resources and communities. Tribal and indigenous communities may see these impacts on sacred and traditional living sites, cultural practices, local forests and ecosystems, traditional foods and water quality. 



Scientists supported by the Climate Science Centers are working with these coastal communities to study the impacts of climate change on the health and vitality of the social, economic and natural systems of these communities.

USGS recently featured this work in a "Top Story" on its website. Check out the story here to learn more! 



Image: Two Yupik Eskimo students from Chevak, Alaska holding a tundra swan cygnet. These student volunteers were helping with an annual USGS waterfowl banding program along the Kashunuk River near the Bering Sea coast in western Alaska.

Live Tweeting Event for Wyoming Big Game Capture Starts March 2!

Starting the week of March 2, 2015, as cellular connectivity allows, researchers will be sharing photos, videos, maps and graphics from their work on 8 different studies involving elk, moose, mule deer, and bighorn sheep. 

Follow this big game capture event on:
Twitter @wyokauffman & @wgf, using the hashtags ‪#‎wyoelk‬‪#‎wyomoose‬,‪#‎wyodeer‬, and ‪#‎wyosheep‬

The Wyoming Migration Initiative Director Matt Kauffman, a University of Wyoming professor and U.S. Geological Survey scientist will tweet from @wyokauffman.

Wyoming Game and Fish biologists and wardens collaborating on these studies also will tweet from @wgfd.

We hope you join into the discussion!




AK CSC Poster, “From Icefield to Ocean”, Receives International Vizzie Award

Kristin Timm, a designer with the DOI Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning, is among 10 designers who were recently recognized internationally for excellence in science communication. Timm worked with glaciologists Shad O'Neel, from the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center, and Eran Hood, from the University of Alaska Southeast. She also worked with ecologist Allison Bidlack, from the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center. 

From Icefield to Ocean Poster 2014Cosponsored by Popular Science magazine and the National Science Foundation, the Visualization Challenge competition — the Vizzies — recognizes some of the best scientific photos, videos, posters and illustrations produced each year. Timm and her collaborators received the People’s Choice award in the poster division for their illustration entitled “From Icefield to Ocean.”

The figure they developed depicts the important linkages between glaciers and the ocean. The team felt that it was particularly important to find a compelling way to communicate these research findings to Alaskans because Alaska’s coastal glaciers are among the most rapidly changing areas on the planet and glacier runoff can influence marine habitats, ocean currents and economic activities. The work was supported by the AK CSC as part of the project, Implications of Glacier Change in Alaska. (Learn more about the research described in the poster during a webinar on March 10, 2015.)

The illustration was one of over 300 entries into the annual competition, which has been held for more than a decade. During two rounds of judging, science and visualization experts narrowed the entries to 50 finalists. Readers voted online for the People’s Choice award, and independent experts vetted the winners for accuracy.

The figure will be published in the March 2015 issue of Popular Science. “From Icefield to Ocean” and the other contest winners can also be viewed on the Popular Science website.

Posted: 2/23/2015

SC CSC Offers Summer Internships for Undergraduate Students of Underrepresented Minorities

The South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC) is pleased to announce a summer undergraduate internship opportunity in 2015 for students of underrepresented minorities interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (for example, agricultural science, economics, environmental engineering). Interns will be involved in hands-on activities related to climate research that will allow them to see the direct impacts of climate variability and change on forest ecosystems in Oklahoma, coastal areas in Louisiana, and the Texas Hill Country. Internship participants will travel across the South Central United States to visit university campuses and field locations and interact with faculty conducting cutting edge research. 

The internship will take place from Sunday, May 31, 2015 to Saturday, June 20, 2015. Interns will spend one week with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, one week with Louisiana State University, and one week with Texas Tech University. All meals, lodging and travel will be provided during the three-week period. In addition, interns will receive a $200/week stipend for the duration of the program. The program will not cover local travel between the participant's home to their closest airport, personal equipment (clothing, cameras, etc.), or other personal expenses. 

The SC CSC also had a wonderful experience with this program during the summer of 2014!

A sample of the 2014 itinerary is available here:
A video about the internship produced by participants in the 2014 program is available here:

The deadline to apply is 5:00 PM Central Time on Friday, March 20, 2015. For eligibility requirements and to access the application form, please see:

The South Central Climate Science Center is committed to encouraging diversity in the sciences. Please encourage your scientifically minded students to apply for this unique opportunity to experience climate research hands-on!
Posted: 2/10/2015

Upcoming Webinar Will Highlight New Tools for Projecting Impacts of Climate Change on Deer and Waterfowl

On Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 11am EST (10am CST), researchers will present a 2-part webinar describing updates on the development of Weather Severity Indices (WSI) for waterfowl and debuting an open-access web-based tool for querying and visualizing WSI data. The researchers will also discuss the development of projections of winter severity using dynamical downscaling.

waterfowl NE CSC webinar March 2015 414x146
Part 1: A Weather Severity Index for estimating influences of climatic variability on waterfowl populations, waterfowl habitat, and hunter opportunity and demographics
Dr. Michael Schummer Visiting Assistant Professor of Zoology, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY, Contract Scientist, Long Point Waterfowl, Port Rowan, Ontario Adjunct Professor, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY Adjunct Professor, Western University, London, Ontario 
Part 2: Application of dynamical downscaling to generate projections of winter severity, with implications for waterfowl migration and deer survival 
Dr. Michael Notaro Senior Scientist and Associate Director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
This webinar is being sponsored by the DOI Northeast Climate Science Center and the Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative. 
This work is supported in part by the Northeast Climate Science Center through the project, 

Development of Dynamically-Based 21st Century Projections of Snow, Lake Ice, and Winter Severity for the Great Lakes Basin to Guide Wildlife-Based Adaptation Planning, with Emphasis on Deer and Waterfowl

Posted: 2/8/2015


Melting Glaciers Will Impact the Flow of Organic Carbon to Downstream Ecosystems

According to a new study, the impact from melting glaciers due to climate change will be more complex than just causing changes to global sea-levels. Melting glaciers will potentially have a major impact on the flow of organic carbon to oceans around the world. The new study, Storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers and ice sheets, provides global-scale storage and release estimates for organic carbon from melting glaciers.  

Glacier in Alaska

“This research makes it clear that glaciers represent a substantial reservoir of organic carbon,” said Eran Hood, the lead author on the paper and a scientist with the University of Alaska Southeast (Juneau).  “As a result, the loss of glacier mass worldwide, along with the corresponding release of carbon, will affect high-latitude marine ecosystems, particularly those surrounding the major ice sheets that now receive fairly limited land-to-ocean fluxes of organic carbon.”

This research was published on January 19, 2015 in Nature Geoscience. View the publication here.

This new publication, as well as several other papers and products, resulted from a project, Implications of Glacier Change in Alaska, funded by the Alaska Climate Science Center.

Learn more in the USGS Press Release announcing the new study >>

Image: Johns Hopkins Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park (Linda Leiberman, NPS)

Posted: 1/21/2015


New Publication Presents Tool to Assist Stocking Efforts and Survival of Juvenile Walleye in Lakes

The eradication of invasive aquatic species can be difficult and impractical for managers, so other strategies to manage an ecosystem and preserve key elements of its native environment are often used. In many lakes, the presence of the invasive Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax is associated with declines in native fish populations. A new paper, A Morphometric Approach for Stocking Walleye Fingerlings in Lakes Invaded by Rainbow Smelt, describes the effects of Rainbow Smelt on Walleye Sander viteus (an economically-valuable recreational game fish) recruitment, and describes an approach for determing the appropriate size of walleye fingerlings that can be stocked in lakes to prevent predation by the invasive Smelt. For lakes where the size structure of the smelt is unknown, the authors suggest stocking waters with larger juvenile walleye (over 142 mm) to increase survival rates. 

This publication was the product of a study funded by the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center: Climate Change and Resilience of Sport Fisheries in Lakes

If you need assistance accessing this publication, please contact the publication authors.

Posted: 1/16/2015

New Paper Explores Forest Resilience to Climate Change and Urbanization

A team of North Carolina State University and U.S. Geological Survey researchers authored the recently released article, “Modeling climate change, urbanization, and fire effects on Pinus palustris ecosystems of the southeastern U.S.” in the Journal of Environmental Management. This paper explores the impact of climate change and urbanization on the fire-dependent and critically endangered longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem. 

Pinus Palustris (USDA Forest Service)

The authors found that urbanization would have a much larger impact on the ecosystem than climate change and they suggest that restoration, rather than just maintenance, is necessary in order to achieve conservation goals.

This study was conducted as a part of the Southeast Regional Assessment Project (SERAP) funded by the Southeast Climate Science Center.

Photo: Pinus palustris; Credit: USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station
Posted on 1/12/2015

Researchers Evaluate Ecological Systems Classification and Mapping for the Northeast and Midwest

Researchers recently completed a project to compare maps and classification systems from various producers to identify opportunities for consolidating the strongest qualities in each mapping system to produce a ‘best map’ for the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. This project, Critical Evaluation of Methods and Outcomes for Habitats/Ecological Systems Classification and Mapping in the Northeast and Midwest U.S., was funded by the Northeast Climate Science Center.

Maps Compared in Classification & Mapping Project (Diamond et al.)Investigators compared maps produced by LANDFIRE (LF), Southeast GAP Analysis (SEGAP), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and NatureServe (NS) for the eastern USA. All the efforts use the NS Ecological Systems Classification with modifications as their legend. The LF and NS maps cover the whole U.S., whereas the area of coverage for other maps is limited. The NS map is a compilation and modification of the LF and SEGAP maps. In areas of overlap, the four maps are quite different at their finest thematic resolution (when more vegetation types are mapped) but more similar when fewer vegetation types are mapped. Differences are in part due to the nature of the vegetation continuum itself (e.g. inexact differences separating mapped types). Investigators concluded that it was not possible to determine which map was more accurate, and they could not be mixed and matched to create a ‘best map.’

As described in the project's final report, each map exhibits qualities and challenges unique to end users’ needs. The TNC map is most cartographically appealing. The LF effort adheres to set national methods and standards and producers are most often unable to respond to the individual concerns of regional, state, or local users. Depending on their needs, end users must create customized maps at their own cost (e.g. the TNC map), modify national maps, or simply use national maps as they are delivered. The LF map is due for a refresh within the next few years, but other maps may not be refreshed. The National Landcover Dataset, which was not assessed as part of this effort, has the longest history of being refreshed at regular intervals but maps the fewest vegetation types. It is easy to interpret, and would be the most straightforward for a local user to modify by using map overlays.

Find out more about the work conducted in this project and the findings and products that resulted from it in the final report on the project page

Picture: Extent of analysis showing the area of overlap for each of the four compared map products. From: Project Final Report 

Posted on 1/7/2015