Who keeps the streets and parks clean in Manhattan? Tiny residents living in some of its smallest green spaces make a major contribution by consuming food waste around the city. A research team, supported by the Southeast Climate Science Center (SE CSC), recently conducted a study to understand the effects that habitat, species identity, and diversity have on the levels of food removal by these urban arthropods. This research uncovered a range of results including that arthropods in medians remove 2–3 times more food per day than did in parks. The team also found that the greatest amount of food was removed by the introduced pavement ant (Tetramorium sp. E). Hotter, drier conditions may also have contributed by increasing the arthropods’ metabolism. These and other findings suggest that habitat and species identity have a greater effect than diversity on the amount of food consumed by urban arthropods. Researchers estimate that arthropods could remove 4–6.5 kg of food per year in a single street median, making the food less available to animals like rats. Chew on that!
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that the Department of the Interior’s regional Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) are awarding nearly $6 million to universities and other partners for 50 new research projects to better prepare natural and cultural resources managers to make decisions helping wildlife, ecosystems, and communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.
"These climate studies are designed to help address regional concerns associated with climate change, providing a pathway to enhancing resilience and supporting local community needs," said Secretary Jewell. "The impacts of climate change are vast and complex, so studies like these are critical to help ensure that our nation's responses are rooted in sound science."
As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the 50 scientific studies announced today will focus on how climate change is affecting natural and cultural resources and tribal communities, as well as inform management actions that can be taken to help offset those impacts. The research can help guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources to plan how to help species, ecosystems, tribes and other communities adapt to climate change. The studies, most of which will occur over multiple years, will be conducted with fiscal year 2014 funding.
November 19, 2014: Warmer temperatures due to climate change are expected to have varying effects on different ecosystems, plants, animals and insects - including pests and parasites. A new study by researchers at North Carolina State University suggests that increased temperatures will limit the impacts of parasitic wasps, causing an increase in some insect pest populations. By looking at insect populations in urban areas, which are warmer, researchers were able to see that the Parthenolecanium quercifex, a tree pest, will develop earlier than normal due to an increase in temperature. However, parasitic wasps, which lay eggs in the tree pest insects, do not develop earlier under these same conditions. Therefore, the pest insects are able to grow larger populations due to the reduced threat from parasites.
Image: Metaphycus wasps, like this one, were among the parasitoid species the researchers looked at for this study. Photo credit: Andrew Ernst.
Published Date: January 18th, 2018
October 26, 2014: Congratulations to Ayse Karanci, Ph.D. student in the North Carolina State University Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering and Global Change Fellow through the Southeast Climate Science Center (SE CSC), for receiving the Student Educational Award from the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) at the organization's annual conference on October 16.
Ayse's presentation titled "Modeling Overwash on a Barrier Island: Land Cover Implementation" focused on numerical modeling of storm induced breaching and overwash along the North Carolina Outer Banks. She incorporated detailed information on land cover and vegetation into the model which has improved the accuracy of predictions. This research can be used to assess vulnerability and resilience of coastal systems across our nation's coasts. Learn more about Ayse's research at http://globalchange.ncsu.edu/secsc/research/ayse-karanci/.
The ASBPA Student Educational Award is given annually to an undergraduate or graduate student who, through his or her research, is furthering the state of science of coastal or riverine systems as it relates to the goals and mission of the ASBPA.
The award includes a $500 cash stipend and the award winner attends the conference to present his or her findings to the coastal community.
Published Date: January 18th, 2018
September 22, 2014: Multiple DOI Climate Science Centers (CSCs) had the opportunity to participate in the Second State-and-Transition Simulation Modeling Conference that took place on September 16-18 in Fort Collins, CO. During the conference, several different science projects from the CSCs were presented and discussed.
Jennifer Costanza, from North Carolina State University, with funding support from the Southeast CSC, presented work on climate and landscape impacts of potential bioenergy production in North Carolina.
Brian Miller, at Colorado State University, with funding from the North Central CSC, described how climate projections, species distribution models, and state-and-transition simulations can be combined to explore future white bark pine habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
And Megan Creutzburg, from Portland State University, summarized a project funded by the Northwest CSC on climate change and management implications for future sage-grouse habitat in southeastern Oregon.
The workshop concluded with a panel on future directions. Jeff Morisette from the North Central CSC served on the panel and highlighted how State and Transition Simulation Modeling can provide a community framework for quantitatively integrating climate change, ecological models, and management scenarios.
The CSCs look forward to opportunities such as this where they can join together to collaborate with partners and exemplify both the similarities and differences among the eight CSC regions.
Proceedings from the workshop will be published in early 2015.
Group Photo of Participants at the Second State-and-Transition Simulation Modeling Conference 2014
Published Date: January 18th, 2018
Providing education and training opportunities for the next generation of scientists and managers is a priority at the Climate Science Centers (CSCs). These opportunities include internships, research fellowships, retreats, and networking events. CSC interns also provide crucial support for CSC initiatives. Interns and fellows help the CSCs achieve their mission of providing and communicating high-quality science related to the climate change impacts on natural and cultural resources. The following highlights show a glimpse of the wonderful work being done by interns across the country and the wide range of training opportunities at the CSCs.
At the Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC), Carter Tiernan, a Computer Science major, assisted the Northeast Climate Science Center Communications and Outreach Manager from January 2013 until May 2014. His tasks included updating the NE CSC website, maintaining the mailing list, generating content for the newsletter, and digesting quarterly reports for newsworthy nuggets. Carter also created a web-based map tool to display the location and websites of tribes in the NE CSC region!
Kayla Marchetti, a Communications and Journalism major, also assisted the NE CSC Communications and Outreach Manager from September 2013 until May 2014. Her tasks included photography for NE CSC events and research activities, interviewing NE CSC Fellows and natural resource managers, and drafting feature stories promoting the research of NE CSC Fellows and how their research serves a natural resource management need.
The South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC) hosted Grant Williams (left in photo), a student from Oklahoma State University participating in a Research Experience for Undergraduates program, and John Robertson (right in photo), a high school student from the Casady School, this summer. Grant worked on modeling wind turbine wake interactions in order to optimize the production of wind energy on tribal lands, and John wrote a paper on climate change impacts on ecosystems in the south central region for course credit.
The SC CSC also hosted a 3-week summer undergraduate internship opportunity for ten students of underrepresented minorities interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (for example, anthropology, civil engineering, computer science, meteorology). Interns were involved in hands-on activities related to climate research that allowed 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 traveled across the South Central United States to visit university campuses and field locations and worked side-by-side with researchers. The interns spent one week with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, one week with Louisiana State University, and one week with Texas Tech University. In addition, the interns learned basic videography skills and captured still and video footage to contribute to a short 3-5 minute teaser that will encapsulate the internship experience.
The Southeast Climate Science Center (SE CSC) also had the privilege of hosting a student intern this summer. Paige Breen (photo at right), a rising junior at Yale University, spent a good part of the summer working on a number of important projects for the SE CSC. She also exemplifies the terrific talent and energy of a young person interested and committed to the challenges of global change. She is studying the intersections of climate change and energy systems from the scientific, political and legal angles. She had an important hand at fine-tuning the new Global Change Monitoring Portal, drafting text for factsheets, and interviewing some of our scientists on their recently completed projects. She says her experience this summer made her want to hone in on more physical science for her undergraduate work as well as giving her a glimpse of the broad array of possible careers in the field of climate change! Be sure and read the interview with Paige and her experience working at the SE CSC this summer.
The CSCs are very fortunate to work with such great students and early career researchers and we look forward to continuing these opportunities in the future!
Published Date: January 18th, 2018
August 5, 2014: In a recent webinar, Thomas Doyle from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, LA described a sea-level rise modeling handbook that has been developed as a natural resource manager’s guide of the science and simulation models for understanding the dynamics and impacts of sea-level rise on our coastal ecosystems. The recording from this webinar is now available and ready for viewing!
This webinar introduces the layout and content of the handbook including various methods and models for understanding past and current sea-level change and predicting ecosystem impacts of rising sea level under future climate change. Basic illustrations of the components of the Earth’s hydrosphere and effects of plate tectonics, planetary orbits, and glaciation were explained by Tom to understand the long-term cycles of historical sea-level rise and fall. Discussion of proper interpretation of contemporary sea-level rates and trends from tide gauge stations and satellite altimetry missions were presented to show their complementary aspects and value for understanding variability in eustasy and land motion for different coastal reaches of the U.S. Tom also gave examples of the different types and classes of hydrology and ecosystem models used to predict potential effects of future sea-level rise at local and regional scale applications. Coastal land managers, engineers, and scientists will benefit from this webinar and handbook illustrating tools and models that have been developed for projecting causes and consequences of sea-level change on the landscape and seascape.
Stay tuned for the release of the Sea-level Rise Handbook! Coming Soon!
Published Date: January 18th, 2018
April 29, 2014: The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and seven of the eight (Alaska, North Central, Northeast, Pacific Islands, South Central, Southeast and Southwest) Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers (CSCs) are seeking Statements of Interest (SOIs) and proposals for funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. [The Northwest CSC has committed all available funds for FY 2015 and is not accepting proposals at this time.]
Research projects that support NCCWSC/CSC priority science needs are important for providing natural and cultural resource managers with the science, tools, and information they need to develop and execute management strategies that address the impacts of climate change on a broad range of natural and cultural resources. FY 15 science needs for NCCWSC and the CSCs are described in the NCCWSC/CSC Funding Opportunity Guidance Document, which can be found at https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/ResearchFunds.
The deadline for submission of Statements of Interest is June 17, 2014.
Only the following may submit proposals in response to this Funding Opportunity:
Institutions that are either Host Institutions or Consortium Members for the requesting DOI Climate Science Center (exceptions are made for (1) projects spanning multiple CSC regions and (2) NCCWSC-sponsored projects) and
USGS centers, field stations, laboratories, Cooperative Research Units, etc.
Each proposal must have a Principal Investigator (PI) from an eligible institution. Parties from other organizations (Federal, State, Tribal, or other) can participate and receive funds via sub-award from the Principal Investigator but the proposal submitter and PI must be from an eligible applicant, as described above. Non-eligible applicants are encouraged to establish working partnerships with one of the recognized eligible applicants to seek participation as part of a project lead by a CSC/university consortium member or USGS facility.
April 28, 2014: A team of researchers focused on 20 common butterfly species in Ohio to examine the effect of temperature and urban density on butterfly emergence patterns. Results revealed a wide range of responses to urbanization across species, but one finding stood out.
“The combined effect of an urban area and a warmer part of the state appeared to delay emergence in seven of the 20 species,” Wepprich says.
The affected species in these areas emerged days or weeks after other butterflies of the same species emerged in either rural areas in the warmer parts of Ohio, or urban areas in colder parts of Ohio.
“Even though butterflies often change their emergence predictably to small increases in temperature, these species responded in unexpected ways to larger increases in temperature,” Wepprich says.
“Scientists often use analogies for global climate change, such as urban warming, to understand how species’ might respond to a warmer future,” Wepprich adds. “This allows us to estimate which species are more vulnerable to climate change.
“We don’t really know precisely where the tipping point is, or why only some species respond this way, but something is happening here. We’re still working to better understand what’s going on with these butterfly species and what consequences there may be for their populations.”