September 2018 Newsletter

Fall 2018 Global Change Fellows speak with a national park manager.

September 2018 Newsletter

 Welcome to the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center’s September 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

2018-2019 Global Change Fellows have started their year-long program with SE CASC, beginning with a week-long Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Field Intensive that introduced them to SE CASC research and operations, decision science, and place-based engagement with partners, National Park Service and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Learn more about these excellent multidisciplinary graduate students.

SE CASC USGS Director position is now open for applications. The Director provides leadership of SE CASC’s regional-scale research program to increase scientific understanding of the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, habitats, and cultural resources. Director positions at four other regional CASCs are also being hired. Get details and links to applications.

Don’t miss the first in this semester’s Global Change Seminar Series, organized by our Global Change Fellows, on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 3:30 pm in 101 David Clark Labs. Topic is: Fire Management Under Climate Change: A panel discussion on fire and its effects on human and ecological communities in a changing world. Check our website and calendar for remote connection details.

New publication from SE CASC supported research: “Toward a Resilience-Based Conservation Strategy for Wetlands in Puerto Rico: Meeting Challenges Posed by Environmental Change,” by Jaime Collazo, Adam Terando, Augustin Engman, Paul Fackler, Thomas Kwak. The team developed two decision models of contrasting complexity for an amphibian and a fish species, illustrated links between objectives and actions, and highlighted trade-offs triggered by varying resource valuation.

A recent article in Coastal Review Online detailed the relevance of SE CASC project, Protecting Cultural Resources in the Face of Climate Change, to management of National Park Service cultural resources.

A new book, Handbook of Climate Change and Biodiversity, describes research and projects on climate change and biodiversity. National CASC researchers as well as current Global Change Fellow Bonnie Myers are featured in the book with their chapter on “Hypotheses from Recent Assessments of Climate Impacts to Biodiversity and Ecosystems in the United States.”

New SE CASC Blog Post: Return of River Cane, Our Native Bamboo, River cane (Arundinaria gigantea) habitat was once a lush and dominant feature of the Southeastern landscape up until the time of European settlement and has been almost completely wiped out.

Alumni Fellow Laura Villegas Ortiz was recently featured by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. See Committed to Managing Natural Resources. She is also giving a seminar on Friday, October 5, Land Use Planning for Flood Risk Reduction: The Economic Argument.

Latest from Conservation Corridor: Global road density and habitat fragmentation.



Data and Visualization of Seasonal Changes in Surface Water pH

Developed by NOAA, this suite of data products visualizes and monitors monthly and yearly changes in surface water pH in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. In addition, maps are being developed for multiple aspects of ocean carbon chemistry, including the basin’s buffering capacity (the ability to neutralize changes in pH) and the relative concentration of calcium carbonate minerals that corals and other organisms use to build their shells and skeletons. Data for these maps are updated monthly and initial results indicate good agreement with observed measurements from cruises and buoys. These tools help to discern how ocean chemistry is related to overlapping processes, such as seasonal temperature changes, shifting currents, and freshwater runoff from rivers. Learn more.

Climate Change Indicators. U.S. Global Change Research Program has recently updated the suite of climate indicators. Indicators are observations or calculations that can be used to track conditions and trends. Indicators related to climate—which may be physical, ecological, or societal—can be used to understand how environmental conditions are changing, assess risks and vulnerabilities, and help inform resiliency and planning for climate impacts. Indicators include temperatures over land and at sea, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, the extent of Arctic sea ice, and related effects in sectors like public health and agriculture. Learn more.

Sea Level Rise Viewer. This NOAA web mapping tool visualizes community-level impacts from coastal flooding or sea level rise (up to 10 feet above average high tides). Photo simulations of how future flooding might impact local landmarks are also provided, as well as data related to water depth, connectivity, flood frequency, socio-economic vulnerability, wetland loss and migration, and mapping confidence. Learn more.

Local Sea Level Rise (SLR) Two Pager. Sentinel Site Cooperatives across the U.S. developed a template that communicates local SLR scenarios in a consistent, clear, standardized way that is supported by a data analysis helper. A downloadable suite of files provides an easy way to create a two pager to communicate local SLR scenarios and the related days of future high-tide or nuisance flooding. Resource users enter the station number of interest into the data analysis helper and relevant data is pulled from both the 2017 and 2018 SLR datasets. Additionally, graphs are built and automatically synced to the two-pager template. Link to files.

Convergence of Climate-Health Vulnerabilities. Convergence represents a collaboration among climatologists, public health researchers and professionals, environmental scientists, social science researchers, and community stakeholders to identify and address the impact of extreme climate events on communities in the Carolinas. Developed through community engagement and support from Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) and Southeastern Regional Climate Center (SERCC), it includes HERA (Hazardous Extremes Risk Assessment) Tool, a decision-support tool designed to assist community agencies in planning and preparedness for extreme events. The tool provides decision support through: 1) Data visualization, 2) Providing county-level data and information on extreme events, 3) Probabilities and recurrence intervals for extreme events, and 4) Comparisons across counties. Users can see how a recent weather event qualifies as extreme compared to long-term records. Learn more.

Voices of a Warming Planet. This website consists of oral history interviews conducted with Oregon State University faculty, staff and students who are engaged in climate change research from multiple scholarly vantage points, including the oceanographic and atmospheric sciences, forestry, agriculture, ethics, public health, and public policy. The interviews trace each narrator’s path through academia while paying particular attention to their research and perspectives on global warming. Visit the website.

In the Eye of the Storm: A People’s Guide to Transforming Crisis and Advancing Equity in the Disaster Continuum Toolkit. The “eye” refers to how some communities, due to pre-existing vulnerabilities, find themselves more in the crosshairs than others. And it also refers to the need for watchful vigilance as we document and take action on inequities.  This 190-page manual prepares frontline communities to be first responders in disasters as well as to serve as monitors for equity in disaster response, and to advance an equitable disaster policy platform. Read the manual.

Learn and Burn Workshops. NC State University has developed a website that compiles resources, information, and examples of how to put on ‘Learn and Burn’ events. Learn more.

In the Media

The Planet Is Dangerously Close to the Tipping Point for a ‘Hothouse Earth’. Live Science

Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles. Yale Environment 360

On the Attack Against Climate Change. NY Times

The Sinking Islands of the U.S. The rich traditions of the Gullah Geechee are at risk of being lost, threatened by what is arguably one of the most harrowing issues the world faces today. BBC

Notable Publications

Declining urban and community tree cover in the United States
Tree cover is one of the simplest proxies for assessing the amount of the urban forest and its associated benefits. Researchers used paired aerial imagery to assess changes in tree, impervious, and other cover types in urban and urban/community areas between 2009 and 2014 for all 50 states and District of Columbia. They evaluated urban land, which is defined based on population density, and the broader category of urban/community land, comprising a larger geography that includes urban land plus politically-defined areas of communities (e.g., cities, villages). Highlights of article: 1) Between c. 2009-2014, US urban tree cover dropped from 40.4% to 39.4%. 2) During that same period, US urban impervious cover increased from 25.6% to 26.6%. 3) Nationally, annual urban/community tree cover loss is 175,000 acres or 36 million trees. 4) Loss of urban forest benefits is conservatively estimated at $96 million per year. Changes in cover types affect the benefits derived from urban forests and consequently the health and well-being of urban residents. Link to article.

Uncertainty in forecasts of long-run economic growth
This study develops estimates of uncertainty in projections of global and regional per-capita economic growth rates through 2100, comparing estimates from expert forecasts and an econometric approach designed to analyze long-run trends and variability. Estimates from both methods indicate substantially higher uncertainty than is assumed in current studies of climate change impacts, damages, and adaptation. Authors conclude that there is a greater than 35% probability that emissions concentrations will exceed those assumed in the most severe of the available climate change scenarios (RCP 8.5), illustrating particular importance for understanding extreme outcomes. Link to article.

Indian time: time, seasonality, and culture in Traditional Ecological Knowledge of climate change
Journal Abstract Introduction: Western climate science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) represent complementary and overlapping views of the causes and consequences of change. In particular, observations of changes in abundance, distribution, phenology, or behavior of the natural environment (including plants and animals) can have a rich cultural and spiritual interpretation in Indigenous communities that may not be present in western science epistemologies. Results: Using interviews with Indigenous elders and other Traditional Knowledge holders, we demonstrate that assumptions about the nature, perception, and utilization of time and timing can differ across knowledge systems in regard to climate change. Conclusions: Our interviewees’ focus on relationality predisposes them to notice interactional changes among humans and other species, to be sensitive to smaller scale examples of change, to be more likely to see climate change as part of a broader time scale, and to link changes to a greater suite of socio-political phenomena, including the long arc of colonialism. One implication of this research and the interactions among humans and other species is that policies restricting Native and non-Native access to resources (i.e., hunting and fishing) to certain calendar seasons may need to be revisited in a changing climate. Link to article.

Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate
Crop responses to climate warming suggest that yields will decrease as growing-season temperatures increase. Researchers show that this effect may be exacerbated by insect pests, which already consume 5 to 20% of major grain crops. The authors’ models show that for the three most important grain crops – wheat, rice, and maize – yield lost to insects will increase by 10 to 25% per degree Celsius of warming. The largest yield declines are projected in many of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, thus reducing global grain availability. These findings provide an estimate of further potential climate impacts on global food supply and a benchmark for future regional and field-specific studies of crop-pest-climate interactions. Link to article.

Seasonal Trends in Surface pCO2 and Air‐Sea CO2 Fluxes in Apalachicola Bay, Florida, From VIIRS Ocean Color
Journal Plain Language Summary
Despite having high productivity, coastal water bodies are known to emit large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Our study demonstrates the use of an ocean color satellite to estimate seasonal and annual rates of CO2 release to the atmosphere in Apalachicola Bay, Florida (United States). Due to a lack of carbon dioxide measurements in Apalachicola Bay, we adopted a different approach with advanced statistical techniques to estimate CO2 concentrations from water acidity (pH). Our study shows that Apalachicola Bay is a net source of CO2 throughout the year; however, the rate of CO2 emission varies among months and seasons, and even in different regions within the bay—likely due to the dominance of one or more controlling processes. The estimated rate of emission in Apalachicola Bay indicates that it is a weak source of CO2, which has an annual CO2 emission rate ~95% lower than an average value for the subtropical estuaries around the world. This study also suggests that accurate CO2 flux estimates for Apalachicola Bay and other estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico fill an important gap in current global carbon emission estimates. Link to article.

Past and future global transformation of terrestrial ecosystems under climate change
The last transition from glacial to interglacial period in our earth’s history was characterized by warming that is comparable in magnitude to that projected under high emissions scenarios for the next century. The historical warming and associated climatic changes resulted in ecosystem transformations – changes in dominant plant species or functional type. Authors reviewed 594 published paleoecological records to examine compositional and structural changes in terrestrial vegetation since the last glacial period and to project the magnitudes of ecosystem transformations under alternative future emission scenarios. They conclude that terrestrial ecosystems are highly sensitive to temperature change and suggest that, without major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, terrestrial ecosystems worldwide are at risk of major transformation, with accompanying disruption of ecosystem services and impacts on biodiversity. Link to article.

Tribal News 

Practicum in Field Environmental Biology
This program promotes understanding of environmental field biology and how field research is conducted. Native American students are prepared for advanced studies in environmental biology, so they can better manage their lands. Also, it promotes understanding of Native American attitudes towards the environment for non-Native American students, so these can be incorporated into better management. At East, students interact with the Waswagoning cultural center on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and at West with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal cultural and natural resource departments, as well as through dialogue and collaboration among themselves.

• Native American descent
• Minimum of Sophomore standing and past academic performance
• Statement of purpose and plans to obtain a degree in the environmental sciences

First Summer: UNDERC-East: Northwoods in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Second Summer: UNDERC-West: Flathead Reservation/National Bison Range in western Montana. Tuition, housing, and travel paid, 3 credits/summer, and receive a summer stipend ($5000 East, $5500 West)

Applications are available on the UNDERC website ( Further information can be obtained from the website, or from Dr. Michael Cramer, UNDERC-East Assistant Director (, or Dr. David Flagel, UNDERC-West Assistant Director (

Application deadline is Friday, November 9, 2018. Notification of acceptance will be provided by Monday, December 10, 2018. Acceptance is based on past academic performance and a statement of purpose. Preference is given to students pursuing a career in environmental sciences. Applicants are required to be present for the duration of course.

Regional Partner News

Southeast Regional Climate Center published their Summer 2018 Southeast Region Quarterly Climate Impacts & Outlook, providing regional overview, highlights, and impacts for the Southeast for summer 2018 and a regional climate outlook for autumn 2018. Read the report.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced 28 conservation grants totaling a record $6.5 million to restore, enhance and protect the longleaf pine forest in eight Southeast states, benefitting species like the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and at-risk gopher tortoise. The grants announced will support conservation work in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Learn more.

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies passed a resolution in support of landscape conservation during their 108th Annual meeting in September. The formal recognition marks a milestone in the growing acceptance and use of collaborative, landscape-scale conservation to aid in the recovery or avoidance of federal Endangered Species Act listings, help reduce conflicts, mitigate key stressors and improve regulatory certainty. Learn more.


Find more webinar information in our calendar.

OCT 5 | 1:00 PM-2:00 PM | Working with Tribes in Response to Climate Change

OCT 10 | 11:00 AM-12:00 PM | Resources for Resilience: Florida’s Adaptation Planning Guidebook and a New Sea Level Rise Two-Pager

OCT 11 | 3:30 PM-4:30 PM | Global Change Seminar: Fire Management Under Climate Change

OCT 17 | 6:00 PM-7:00 PM | Understanding Ocean Acidification – Using NOAA’s New Educational Tools

OCT 18 | 10:00 AM-11:00 AM | Identifying Resilient Coastal Sites in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

Upcoming Events

Find more upcoming events in our calendar.

October 15-16, 2018 | AIBS Communications Boot Camp | Washington, DC
The Boot Camp is an intensive, two-day, hands-on training program. Participants will learn topics that include:
How to communicate science to non-technical audiences
How to tell a resonant story that informs decision-makers
How to prepare for and participate in a news interview
How to identify and define the audience you need to reach
How to leverage social media
How the nation’s science policy is developed and implemented
Participants will have the opportunity for formal and informal discussions with science policy and communications experts working in Washington, DC.

November 6, 2018 | NOAA Tools Training | Wilmington, NC
This training is led by staff from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. Participants will learn about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) resources available to improve local decision-making. Participants will get hands-on experience with various tools, including the Sea Level Rise Viewer and the Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper, as well as learn about resources available through NOAA’s Digital Coast. Registration  is required.

November 13-16, 2018 | Fish & Wildlife Health Forum: Identifying Common Challenges, Needs, and Solutions | Reston, VA
Preparing for and addressing fish and wildlife diseases transmitted within wildlife populations is a growing struggle in fish and wildlife conservation, with major impacts to aquatic (including marine) and terrestrial ecosystems. Several emerging and ongoing disease issues currently occupy the time and efforts of fish and wildlife scientists and managers, and most require inter-agency, often international, coordination. It is clear that such communication and cooperation are key in responses to disease outbreaks, with appropriate parties engaged and informed at the right stages. It is also apparent that there are opportunities for improvement, recognizing each agency’s unique jurisdictional authorities and policies for wildlife and land management, availability of wildlife disease diagnostic facilities, and funding sources, as well as information sharing, to address these threats. Purpose of the forum is to improve the potential to respond to wildlife disease events in the US through the evaluation of existing systems, policies, and procedures. This will be achieved at the forum through sharing and exchanging ideas and approaches among peers who are tackling various aspects of fish and wildlife disease control. Participants will examine opportunities for improved coordination, prevention, rapid response and early intervention.

November 15, 2018 | Building Agricultural Resilience to Hurricanes |  Gainesville, FL
The USDA Southeast Climate Hub and University of Florida are hosting a free Hurricane Resilience Workshop in response to the extensive agricultural losses caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The workshop will focus on adaptation practices that increase resilience to hurricanes in nurseries, horticulture, row crops, livestock, and grazing lands before, during and after an event occurs. Workshop participants will learn about hurricane impacts on different commodities and management practices to reduce risk from Extension agents and other experts with first-hand experience in hurricane preparedness and recovery. Participants will also have an opportunity to share their own experiences and lessons learned from previous hurricanes during organized group discussions.

December 8-13, 2018 | 9th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and Management: Investing In Our Coasts: Environment, Economy, Culture | Long Beach, CA
Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) and the Coastal States Organization (CSO)  The six-day Summit will explore cutting-edge issues in coastal restoration and management, and will be comprised of a community restoration event, field sessions, plenary sessions, expert presentations, special evening events, workshops, a poster hall, and an award-winning coastal exposition hall.

March 21-22, 2019 | NC Water Resources Research Institute Annual Conference | Raleigh, NC
WRRI’s annual conference brings together all sectors and all disciplines working in water resources across North Carolina. Here you’ll find water utilities, students, consultants, academics, non-profits, state agency staff, among many others, working across diverse fields such as stream restoration, water supply planning, stormwater management, hydrology, community engagement, and much more! We feature presentations on the latest research and on-the-ground practices and implementation, ample networking opportunities, hands-on interactive sessions to get you out of your seats and working with others to learn new skills and solve problems, student engagement opportunities such as mentoring, exhibitors, and highlights such as art, music and dynamic keynote speakers who remind us of the value of the work we do to study, protect and manage water resources. Send your abstracts to by Nov. 16, 2018.

May 5-8, 2019 | Keeping History Above Water: St. Augustine | St. Augustine, FL
The conference will explore the impacts of sea level rise on historic coastal and river communities and cultural resources through the lens of time. With the theme of Envision 2050, emphasis is placed on policies, programs, and projects that address the situation in the short-term (defined as 30 years). Presenters will share research, strategies, and case studies of real-world applications that will physically, socially, and economically transform the world as we adapt the world to sea level rise over the next few decades. Presentation and workshop proposals are encouraged from professionals, policymakers, researchers, scholars, students, and others studying and addressing rising waters and its impact on historic places and cultural resources.

At NC State

OCT 5 12:00 PM-1:00 PM | Land Use Planning for Flood Risk Reduction: The Economic Argument | 1216 Scott Hall

OCT 8 12:50 PM-1:50 PM | Applying Climate Change Risk Management Tools to Couple Social Vulnerability and Hydrologic Model Results | 1216 Jordan Hall Addition

OCT 9 4:00 PM-5:00 PM | Seminar: Understanding evolutionary responses to climate change | 3503 Thomas Hall

OCT 11 3:30 PM-4:30 PM | Global Change Seminar: Fire Management Under Climate Change | 101 David Clark Labs

OCT 15 12:50 PM-1:50 PM | Stakeholder engagement in environmental science: Asian carp, wild rice, and the American chestnut tree | 1216 Jordan Hall Addition

OCT 15 6:00 PM-8:00 PM | Healthy Forests for a Sustainable Future | North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville

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


Student Announcements

Graduate Students, Research Program in Conservation Science. University of Tennessee is seeking excellent conservation-centric graduate students  interested in pursuing Masters or PhD study through our Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Successful applicants will receive tuition, health care, and a stipend from guaranteed TA line support. The details about the opportunity are given here:

Graduate Student Research Projects. North Carolina’s Water Resources Research Institute and Sea Grant programs are seeking applications for graduate student research projects in the areas of contaminants, aquaculture and watershed management. Currently enrolled graduate students in good academic standing attending accredited colleges and universities in North Carolina are eligible to apply. Students must work under a faculty sponsor. Undergraduate participation in proposed projects is encouraged. Students and faculty advisors of color in particular are encouraged to apply, as well as students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and/or Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Also encouraged are projects that could benefit traditionally under-represented or underserved communities. Up to five $10,000 fellowships are available. The deadline to apply is: Nov. 5, 2018 at 5 pm. Details and application.

Hiring Announcements

Fish and Game Coordinator. Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game is looking for a highly motivated leader of the State’s Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity (TED) Program and is re-opening the previous Juneau-only recruitment to include Anchorage as a duty station.  The statewide TED Program consists of 10 professional staff and works proactively with state, federal, NGO, and private partners to conserve wildlife species (especially nongame species) before they become threatened or endangered, to recover species already imperiled, and to “keep common species common.” The incumbent oversees coordination of the State of Alaska’s work under the Endangered Species Act, and has primary oversight over the Division’s portion of the State Wildlife Grants program. This includes administering complex budgets that require matching funds from multiple, divergent sources. The incumbent will directly supervise 6 professional staff located in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.  Deadline to apply is October 4, 2018. To learn more and apply or contact Chris Krenz, (907)465-5157 or