The Science to Action Fellowship is provided through a partnership between the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and Michigan State University (MSU). The program supports graduate students in developing a product that puts science into action, directly applying scientific research related to climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, or ecosystems to decision making about natural resources.
During the fellowship year and beyond, Fellows benefit from collaborations with university and USGS mentors, from interactions with other colleagues and partners of USGS, and from exposure to high priority, real-world challenges in the natural resources policy arena.
The program is open to Master’s and Doctoral students at any Climate Science Center consortium institution. Students must be enrolled at the institution for the entire fellowship year. To view the list of consortium institutions for each CSC, please check out our CSC Pages.
Up to two Fellows will be selected, annually, to receive a financial award of $10,000 each. The financial award is intended to support the additional efforts undertaken by the Fellow for the NCCWSC project, not as a graduate stipend.
Each Fellow will work closely with his/her university mentor (typically, the applicant’s graduate program advisor) and a mentor from NCCWSC (identified by the applicant during the application process).
Interested applicants should submit a Statement of Interest (SOI) no later than December 15 preceding the intended fellowship year. SOIs (reviewed on a rolling basis) will serve as means for identifying interested applicants and pairing them with a NCCWSC mentor to co-develop a project proposal. Individuals who are invited to submit a full proposal must do so by March 15 at 11:59 PM Mountain Time. Decisions on fellowship awards will be announced by March 31.
Fellowship Duration and Location
The fellowship experience will last one year (start date is flexible within the funded year, beginning April at the earliest). During this time, the Fellow will be expected to work at USGS headquarters just outside of Washington, D.C. in Reston, Virginia for two months (typically summer; specific dates are flexible) but may remain at his/her host institution for the rest of the term.
Questions? Please direct questions about the fellowship program to Dr. Abigail Lynch, NCCWSC Research Fisheries Biologist, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the 2017 Fellowship application requirements >>
* Note that the 2017 Fellowship application period is now closed
Tunde Ojewola, University of Missouri - Columbia, Fellowship Year: 2017
Climate Change Perceptions of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employees
The impact of climate change on natural resources ranges form habitat degradation to an ongoing alteration in the structure and functioning of the ecosystems. Federal agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are responsible for the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats. FWS managers play an important role in not only planning for and responding to climate change impact on these natural resources, but also providing information to private groups and other stakeholders. This project will examine FWS managers’ perceptions, knowledge of, and attitudes toward climate change in the Midwest. Understanding managers perceptions of climate change are important determinants of environmental decision-making behavior, policy formation, and communication. Tunde will also develop a decision-support tool and story maps describing climate change impacts on fish and wildlife within the region. These tools can be used by FWS managers to educate stakeholders about the changing landscape.
Rachel Owen, University of Missouri - Columbia, Fellowship Year: 2017
Playa Ecosystem Vulnerability in Future Climates: Taking Science to Stakeholders in the Great Plains
Playas are shallow, rain-fed wetlands found throughout the Great Plains. When wet, playas provide crucial habitat for many wildlife species that depend on water to survive. When dry, playas also support several other Great Plains wildlife species because they are often the only natural lands in a region dominated by agricultural production. Playas also recharge water to the underlying aquifer, filter nutrients and chemicals from the surrounding watershed, and add recreational value to the region. While several conservation incentive programs are offered for landowners, playas are continually being degraded and converted to other land uses. Climate change poses an additional threat to the already vulnerable playa ecosystems. In an effort to assist existing outreach efforts in the Great Plains, the objective of this project is to develop educational materials and plan field visits in the playa region to describe playa sensitivities to climate change and suggest conservation efforts that may help to lessen further degradation.
Andrew Carlson, Michigan State University, Fellowship Year: 2016
Stream Science to Action: A Decision-Support Tool for Trout Management Amidst Climate Change
Brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout are distributed throughout streams in Michigan and support valuable recreational fisheries. Streams are projected to become warmer in the future due to climate change, but the effects of warming on growth, reproduction, and survival of these trout species are largely unknown. Understanding and predicting climate change impacts is important for developing management strategies that sustain healthy, fishable trout populations. The goal of this project is to design a user-friendly, map-based decision-support tool that combines stream-specific information on resource availability (e.g., money, time, personnel), temperature patterns, and other biological conditions to assist fisheries professionals in planning management programs that promote resilient streams and fish populations. In addition, case studies will be written for the public to illustrate the actions that fisheries professionals and stakeholders can perform to protect Michigan’s streams and trout populations amidst climate change. Read Andrew's final report and see slides from his NCCWSC webinar >>
Tracy Swem, Michigan State University, Fellowship Year: 2015
Climate Smart Conservation in Practice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Climate adaptation case studies can help state and federal managers understand reasonable conservation approaches and integrate climate change into existing wildlife management plans. There is a growing need for a method to evaluate and compile recent adaptation studies in a user-friendly manner. This is especially true in light of the development of recent climate and land-management tools, namely, the Climate Smart Conservation Cycle. The objective of this project was to synthesize recent case studies involving wildlife management and climate change adaptation. Project researchers (a) identified key data and current knowledge related to wildlife management adaptation strategies, (b) performed a meta-analysis on these existing strategies, (c) analyzed the results for differences and similarities to the existing framework of the “Climate Smart Conservation Cycle,” (d) produced a synthesis of adaptation strategies by region and species, and (e) produced a regional map of adaptation case studies in North America.
Ralph Tingley, Michigan State University, Fellowship Year: 2015
Conserving Streams in a Changing Climate: Turning Ecological Stream Classifications into Actionable Science
Climate change will influence freshwater ecosystems worldwide, in many cases leading to species loss. Conservationists must proactively manage waterways to ensure species persistence. To understand the influences of climate on Hawaiian stream species, such as snails, fish and freshwater shrimp, Ralph developed a stream classification based on relationships between organisms and rainfall (along with landscape factors). This system groups streams into similar types and identifies those that may be most influenced by climate change. The goal of Ralph’s project was to incorporate the stream classification into products that facilitate proactive management and to demonstrate the potential for the application of the approach in other regions. He worked with stakeholders in Hawai’i to develop products that utilize the classification, such as identifying conservation or restoration areas based on their current ability to support species and projected changes in climate. Read Ralph's final report >>