August 2018 Newsletter

Water rushes downstream through large rocks in a creek surrounded by leafy green trees.

August 2018 Newsletter

 Welcome to the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center’s August 2018 Newsletter.

In this newsletter you will find:

Notable Publications
Tribal News
Regional Partner News
Upcoming Events

For news and upcoming events related to the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center,  subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


Photo Credits: Alan Cressler, USGS

Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center News

USGS Senior Scientist Jerry McMahon attended the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sea-Level Rise Data, Scenarios, and Modeling Workshop in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The meeting was organized by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Habitat Resources, Coastal Resilience, and Wildlife & Fisheries Teams and developed a consensus approach for determining Gulf of Mexico regionally-specific sea level rise scenarios for predictive modeling to inform development of a Gulf Coast Adaptation Plan strategy.

USGS Research Ecologist Mitch Eaton presented a paper, Conservation reserve design under climate uncertainty: risk & reward tradeoffs, at the International Statistical Ecology Conference. SE CASC researchers and USGS scientists Fred Johnson, Julien Martin, and Simeon Yurek were collaborators. Learn more.

Tribal Liaison Casey Thornbrugh and University Assistant Director Aranzazu Lascurain gave presentations at the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals workshop, Introduction to Climate Change Adaptation Planning, hosted by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Learn more.

Southeast CASC researchers, Faculty Affiliates, Consortium PIs, and Global Change Fellows made research presentations at recent annual meetings of the Ecological Society of America and American Fisheries Society. See details at these links.

Climate Adaptation Science Field Intensive was held in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A cohort of 12 new Global Change Fellows from NC State plus 3 graduate students from Consortium universities Univ. of TN and Auburn attended this week-long event that included training in decision science, place-based learning about climate challenges with SE CASC partners Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and National Park Service, and science communication. Check our website for upcoming information about our Fellows.

New research paper from SE CASC project, Vital Futures: Conservation Adaptation Planning for Landscape and Climate Change in the Southeast, was published in SEAFWA journal. Clark et al., Evaluating Climate Change Planning for Longleaf Pine Ecosystems in the Southeast United States, includes co-authors, Faculty Affiliate Nils Peterson, Consortium PI Kirstin Dow, and 2014-15 Global Change Fellow Michaela Foster. Read the paper.

SE CASC researcher Ilsa Kuffner published an article in Nature, Sea-level rise could overwhelm coral reefs. Read the article.

Consortium PI Paul Armsworth is lead author on recent paper in Biological Conservation, Is conservation right to go big?, which examined how protected area size influences conservation return-on-investment. They conclude that a portfolio of protected area sizes would be cost effective for conservation. Read the paper.

Southeast CASC-supported research team made up of Michael Just, NC State Postdoctoral Associate and 2013-14 SE CASC Global Change Fellow; Steve Frank, NC State Professor of Entomology; and Adam Dale, 2014-15 SE CASC Global Change Fellow at NC State and now University of Florida Assistant Professor, completed a study that examined the relationship between A. rubrum condition, impervious surface cover, and Melanaspis tenebricosa (Comstock) abundance, a primary herbivore of urban A. rubrum, in eight cities across the southern distribution of A. rubrum. Impervious surface thresholds for urban tree site selection. Read the article.

Southeast CASC-funded researchers published a journal article, Eleanor C. Lahr, Robert R. Dunn, Steven D. Frank, Getting ahead of the curve: cities as surrogates for global change, which evaluates the use of cities as proxies for climate change. They suggest the types of hypotheses that can be best tested in cities, caveats to urban research, and how to further validate cities as surrogates for global change. Access the paper.

Faculty Affiliate Martha Burford Reiskind’s research was featured in NCSU News. See the post.

Consortium PI Lydia Olander will lead a pre-conference workshop on Monday, December 3, at the 2018 A Community on Ecosystem Services Conference. See more in Upcoming Events.

From Conservation Corridor: Visualizing corridors and connectivity in maps.



Climate Science: What’s New?

Human emissions of greenhouse gases now overwhelm the influence of natural drivers on Earth’s climate. How will our energy choices and resulting emissions affect temperature and precipitation, extreme events, sea level rise and more, over this century and beyond? What are the implications for meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement and avoiding dangerous change? And what about the potential for surprise, as we push the climate system harder and faster than any time in human history? In this recording of a OneNOAA Science Seminar presentation, Katharine Hayhoe highlights key results and new science from the first volume of the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment, and lays out what to expect from the second volume on how climate change is affecting regions and sectors across the U.S. See the presentation.

2017 State of the Climate: Highlights. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information leads annual analysis of previous year’s climate metrics, providing insight on global climate indicators, extreme weather events, and other valuable information on the state of the climate. This NOAA website summarizes some of the highlights of the recently released report, published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society. Learn more.

Understanding the Long-Term Evolution of the Coupled Natural-Human Coastal System. The NAS report presents a research agenda meant to enable a better understanding of the multiple and interconnected factors that influence long-term processes along the Gulf Coast. This report identifies scientific and technical gaps in understanding the interactions and feedbacks between human and natural processes, defines essential components of a research and development program in response to the identified gaps, and develops priorities for critical areas of research. Learn more.

US Coastal Property at Risk from Rising Seas. This national analysis identifies the number of US homes at risk from chronic flooding over the coming decades due to sea level rise. It also shows the current property value, estimated population, and portion of the property tax base at risk. Information is available by state, community, and zip code. Learn more.

Ecological Resilience Indicators for Five Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems. To develop the indicators, NatureServe applied an innovative Ecological Resilience Framework (ERF) that integrates information on ecosystem drivers, ecological integrity and ecosystem service provision. This framework was linked with a comprehensive programmatic and spatial analysis to assess the degree to which the recommended indicators are currently being monitored by existing programs in the NGoM, and thereby identify gaps in monitoring opportunities for additional data collection. Learn more.

Climate change and freshwater fish. Lakes in Wisconsin are getting warmer, and fish communities are changing as a result. Understanding recent trends and anticipating future changes can help decision-makers protect resilient populations, adapt to new conditions, and effectively communicate realistic expectations. Learn more.

Shifting Shorelines: Inlet Atlas. a virtual tour of N.C. inlets, revealing how they fluctuated from 1984 to 2016. Learn more.

Coastal Flood Exposure Maps Tutorial. This self-paced tutorial demonstrates how to use NOAA’s online Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper to create easy-to-understand maps that depict community vulnerability. Select step-by-step instructions for creating, storing, and sharing local flood exposure maps. View the entire video (about an hour) or use the interactive table of contents to select sections of interest. Learn more.

AGU Narratives: 100 Years Of Stories. Using historians, professional story gatherers, crowdsourcing and public story sharing opportunities, AGU Narratives will feature a variety of stories to help connect the Earth and space science community, amplify our voice, and inspire those around us. Learn more.

In the Media

Virtual Reality Preserves Disappearing Land. Hakai Magazine.

Special report: A 30-year alarm on the reality of climate change. Axios

Looking for signs of global warming? They’re all around you. AP News

Deeply Invested: Coral Reefs and the Future of Florida. Ocean Conservancy

Global warming, now brought to you by your local TV weathercaster. NBC News

Rising seas: ‘Florida is about to be wiped off the map’. The Guardian

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere just hit its highest level in 800,000 years, and scientists predict deadly consequences. Business Insider

Notable Publications

A multiscale natural community and species-level vulnerability assessment of the Gulf Coast, USA. Authors conducted a vulnerability assessment for four natural communities and eleven focal species across the northern Gulf of Mexico based on current and future threats from climate change and land-use practices projected through 2060. They used the Standardized Index of Vulnerability and Value (SIVVA) tool to assess both natural community and species vulnerabilities, in order to support prioritization of conservation actions across a range of spatial scales. They found greater variation across ecologically delineated subregions within the Gulf Coast than across climate scenarios. The greatest threats were determined to be historical habitat loss and degradation, which compromised the adaptive capacity of species and natural communities; this was followed by future threats from sea-level rise. Authors conclude that future vulnerability assessments should incorporate regional variation and that conservation prioritization may vary across ecological subregions. Link to article.

Plasticity reveals hidden resistance to extinction under climate change in the global hotspot of salamander diversity. Researchers used mechanistic species distribution models, which predict the distribution of habitat suitability through space and time by assessing energy balance, in order to evaluate the potential for plasticity to buffer species from extinction. They incorporated experimental field and laboratory data for one abundant, widely distributed salamander species in the southern Appalachians, a region known as a hotspot of salamander diversity, and currently predicted to lose most of the salamander habitat due to warming. Sensitivity of extinction risk to body size, behavioral strategies, limitations on energy intake, and physiological acclimatization of water loss and metabolic rate were assessed. Resulting projections that included plasticity reduced extinction risk by 72% under climate warming, especially in the core of their range. Link to article.

Observing carbon cycle–climate feedbacks from space. Journal abstractThe impact of human emissions of carbon dioxide and methane on climate is an accepted central concern for current society. It is increasingly evident that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane are not simply a function of emissions but that there are myriad feedbacks forced by changes in climate that affect atmospheric concentrations. If these feedbacks change with changing climate, which is likely, then the effect of the human enterprise on climate will change. Quantifying, understanding, and articulating the feedbacks within the carbon–climate system at the process level are crucial if we are to employ Earth system models to inform effective mitigation regimes that would lead to a stable climate. Recent advances using space-based, more highly resolved measurements of carbon exchange and its component processes—photosynthesis, respiration, and biomass burning—suggest that remote sensing can add key spatial and process resolution to the existing in situ systems needed to provide enhanced understanding and advancements in Earth system models. Information about emissions and feedbacks from a long-term carbon–climate observing system is essential to better stewardship of the planet. Link to article.

Implicit decision framing as an unrecognized source of confusion in endangered species classification. Regulatory classification of species for endangered species protections requires scientific and values‐based components, and how those components interact depends on how people frame the listing decision. Decision makers, staff biologists, and stakeholders can often have divergent perspectives of the decision problem and assume different framings. Authors describe five framings inspired by elements observed in current classification practices, with the intent to encourage movement toward selection and application of explicit classification framings. Framings are: putting species in the right bin, doing right by the species over time, saving the most species on a limited budget, weighing extinction risk against other objectives, and strategic classification to advance conservation. They conclude that being explicit about the decision framing could lead decision makers toward more efficient and defensible decisions, reduce internal confusion and external conflict, and support better collaboration between scientists and policy makers. Link to article.

A framework for identifying and characterising coral reef “oases” against a backdrop of degradation. Human activities have led to widespread decline of marine ecosystems; however, the severity of degradation is spatially heterogeneous. Authors developed a framework to identify coral reef oases — sites that have exhibited consistently higher coral cover — relative to sites within a defined region, using long‐term monitoring data. They calculated standardized estimates of coral cover, quantified how oases varied temporally, and estimated a measure of the coral community’s ability to produce calcium carbonate structures. When the approach was applied to long-term monitoring data from 4 regions in the Pacific and western Atlantic, 38 of 123 sites were categorised as oases. Analysis of the empirical data suggest that the majority of our coral reef oases originated by either escaping or resisting disturbances, although some sites showed a high capacity for recovery, while others were candidates for restoration. Link to article.

Tribal News 

What’s That Plant? The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) collaborated to develop this education module for children grades K-12. The plant module focused on fourteen culturally and scientific significant plants, such as white oak, flowering dogwood, ramps, and sochan. The module integrated traditional ecological knowledge from the EBCI tribe and scientific knowledge from SRS researchers. The goal of this partnership was to incorporate current science-based knowledge of the ecosystems where Cherokee youth live and to complement the traditional knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Learn more.

NOAA, in partnership with the Economic Development Agency, Minority Business Development Agency, Department of the Interior and the Gulf States, will invest $8 million to help execute compliant priority coastal habitat restoration projects across the Gulf through a Gulf Coast Conservation Corps (GCCC) Program. The GCCC Program will be overseen by the Department of the Interior (DOI) and its Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to engage tribal youth in support of environmental restoration and implementation of projects selected by Members of the RESTORE Council. The Department of Commerce and its partners will work with these groups to recruit and train members in a variety of skills, and mobilize paid crews that will receive on-the-ground training through working on portions of other compliant projects. The Point of Contact for this project is: Harold Peterson,, (615) 564-6500.

NOAA’s Species Recovery Grants to Tribes support tribal-led management, research, monitoring, and/or outreach activities that have direct conservation benefits for species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Recently delisted species, proposed species, and candidate species are also eligible.  We have just announced our FY19 request for proposals. The closing date is October 30, 2018. Visit for more information and a link to the application.

Regional Partner News

South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative
The Triangle Climate and Landscape Researchers’ Brown Bag becomes “Climate and Conservation Coffee.” Learn more.
Final report on using the South Atlantic Blueprint to improve integration between the natural and built environments.  Learn more.

Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
MINRC Application Now Open for the 2018 SEAFWA Annual Conference. Learn more.


Find more webinar information in our calendar.

AUG 28 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM | The Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment: An Overview of Volume 1

AUG 29 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM Cooperative Monitoring Program for Fish Spawning Aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico

AUG 30 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM | Exploring Deepwater Habitats of the Southeast US Continental Margin

AUG 30 1| 2:00 PM-1:00 PM | Spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in Tropical Cyclone Monitoring

SEP 4 | 7:30 PM-9:00 PM | The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health

SEP 5 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM | Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate

SEP 11 | 5:00 PM-6:00 PM | Climate-driven species redistribution in marine systems

Upcoming Events

Find more upcoming events in our calendar.

Aug 27 – Nov 26 | Managing for a Changing Climate
In Fall 2018, the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center at the University of Oklahoma will offer four short courses that will provide an integrative understanding of the components of the climate system. Topics include impacts of a changing climate on multiple sectors such as the economy, policy, ecosystems, and indigenous populations, and how managers can adapt to these changes. The courses are free and online, so anyone from anywhere may participate! You will have the opportunity to learn from climate experts at OU and our partner institutions. Introduction to the climate system (Aug. 27 – Sept. 10)
Climate models, downscaling, & assessments (Sept. 10 – Oct. 1)
Societal impacts of climate change (Oct. 1 – Oct. 22)
Physical impacts of climate change & adaptation strategies (Oct. 22 – Nov. 26)

Sept 11 | Triangle Alliance for Environmental Policy Workshop | Chapel Hill, NC
A 2-part workshop aimed to show you where to promote your research and how to communicate it effectively, led by Layla Dowdy (Director of the Office of Research Communications at UNC-CH); Matt Shipman (Research Communications Lead at NCSU); and Kate Sheppard (Senior Enterprise Editor at HuffPost).
Part I – Beyond Publishing: What else to do with your Data?
-Learn about the various resources available to you for promoting your research, including utilizing the media and the Office of Research Communications at your campus.
Part II – Effective Communication Skills to Promote your Research
-Learn how to describe and communicate your research to various audiences.

Sept 17-19 | 2018 Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference | Columbia, SC
Goals of the conference are to: 1) Support on-the-ground climate resilience efforts by providing managers and regional experts with an opportunity to share lessons learned and discuss resources and tools for incorporating climate information into their work. 2) Contribute to the development of a climate information network for the Carolinas. 3) Provide a venue for practitioners, resource people, and researchers to share information about current activities, plans, and opportunities for collaboration.

Oct 21- 24 | Annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies | Mobile, Alabama
The annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is a forum for the exchange of ideas and critical information regarding the management and protection of fish and wildlife resources primarily in the southeast. The conference attracts over 500 representatives from state and federal agencies, citizen’s organizations, universities, and private wildlife research groups, fisheries and wildlife scientists, agency enforcement personnel, and other natural resource related organizations.

Dec 3 | A Community on Ecosystem Services Conference (ACES) | Washington, DC
Pre-conference workshop, “Methods for Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Decision-Making: Conceptual Models and Benefit Relevant Indicators,” focuses on ecosystem service conceptual models (ESCMs) and benefit relevant indicators (BRIs). This workshop provides an opportunity for the broader community to explore ecosystem service conceptual models and indicators in more depth with experts, using participant exercises to enhance the discussion and shared learning experience. Integrated question and answer sessions will provide opportunities to engage participating experts.

At NC State

Sept 4, 7:00 PM | Coffee & Viz After Hours: Visual Trumpery | Duke Energy Hall at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library
Alberto Cairo, University of Miami

Sept 6, 3:30 PM | Geospatial Forum: Changes in Temperate and Boreal Forests Based on Three Decades of Landsat Imagery | 5103 Jordan Hall
Mark Friedl, Boston University

Other Upcoming Events may be highlighted in previous Newsletters. See our Newsletter Archive.


Actionable Science Postdoctoral Fellow, The Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (NW CASC). This Actionable Science Fellow will play a leading role in the NW CASC’s efforts to foster co-production of decision-relevant science across the Northwest. In this role, the Actionable Science Fellow will implement and evaluate the NW CASC Research Fellowship Program as well as support NW CASC regional science dialogue through a variety of activities. The position requires a PhD in an area of natural or social science related to climate change and demonstrated experience working at the interface of climate science and decision-making. This is a full-time, 12-month term appointment with potential for extension. Salary will be dependent on qualifications and experience. Preference will be given to applications received by September 5, 2018. For a complete job description and application requirements, visit:

Policy Assistant/Associate, Duke University. The position will report to both the Ecosystem Services Program Director, Lydia Olander, and the Oceans and Coastal Program Director, John Virdin, on project and initiative development and follow-through. In this full time grant funded position with annual renewal the Policy Assistant/Associate will work with the three current research associates in these programs, the many other students and faculty collaborators at Duke and other Universities involved in this work, as well as agency, institutional, and NGO collaborators.  This position is expected to begin in January 2019, but there is some flexibility on start date. Below is a summary of examples of the work that may take place over the first year of this position. The work portfolio is likely to evolve over the course of a year.