May 2019 Newsletter

May 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center’s May 2019 Newsletter.

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

SAVE THE DATE for the Southeast CASC Regional Science Symposium, November 13 – 15, 2019, in New Orleans, LA. More details to come!

Be sure to visit the RISING NC exhibit while it is on display at NC State. The exhibition can be viewed at the African American Cultural Center on Monday through Friday from 9 AM-5 PM until May 31st. More information.

Deputy USGS Director, Ryan Boyles, gave a presentation to the Central North Carolina Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, Climate Models and their Use for Assessing Risks to Endangered Species.

Tribal Climate Liaison, Casey Thornbrugh, is featured in a recent post, Stop Talking and Listen, on the AGU blog site, On the Job.

USGS Research Ecologist, Mitch Eaton, will join a team of academics, graduate students, artists, authors, and journalists on a 70-day, 1000-mile traverse of the Colorado River basin in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of an expedition led by John Wesley Powell, who became the second director of USGS. Get more information and follow their progress here.

Paul Taillie (2016-17 Global Change Fellow), Chris Moorman (Faculty Affiliate), Lindsey Smart, and Krishna Pacifici (SE CASC PI) published a paper in PLOS One, Bird community shifts associated with saltwater exposure in coastal forests at the leading edge of rising sea level. They modeled birds’ relationships to changing vegetation structure caused by sea level rise, such as forests, ghost forests and marshes, and estimated how much habitat was lost or gained for a given bird species over 13 years of change. Read more.

2018-19 Global Change Fellow, Danielle Lawson, along with Nils Peterson and Erin Seekamp (SE CASC PIs), and Faculty Affiliate, Kathryn Stevenson, recently published Children can foster climate change concern among their parents, in Nature Climate Change. They demonstrate the ability of children who learn about climate change to help their parents think critically about climate impacts, resulting in increased concern by parents. Read the post.

News post: Many of our Global Change Fellows have recently received recognition for their research, outreach, and academic excellence. Learn more about their work here.

New Researcher Spotlights: Global Change Fellows, Dol Raj Chalise and Chandramauli Awasthi.

New video documentary, The Seeds Of Ghost Forests, featuring Faculty Affiliate, Marcelo Ardon, and SE CASC PI, Ryan Emanuel, describes the rapid changes in the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula with rising sea levels and their team’s research to understand the hydrology, ecosystem effects, and potential options for management.

Latest from Conservation Corridor: Climate change threatens migratory connectivity in the U.S. Great Basin region



Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report

The IPBES Plenary meeting convened in Paris at the beginning of this month. The purpose of this session was to develop a summary for policymakers of a global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The panel released a comprehensive report that illustrates daunting conditions for the state of biodiversity worldwide. They emphasize that through “transformative change”, nature can be conserved, restored and used sustainably while simultaneously meeting other societal goals.

View key findings from the report here. View the full Assessment Summary for Policymakers here.

Southeast & Caribbean Climate Community of Practice. The final report from the fifth annual workshop provides an overview and key takeaways from each workshop session. A summary of workshop evaluation results is also included. Workshop presentations are also available on the CCoP website. Read the report here.

Hurricane Florence: Building resilience for the new normal. Zurich Insurance and ISET-International have released a post-event review for Hurricane Florence. Using the Post-Event Review Capability (PERC) methodology, this report focuses on opportunities, successes and learnings following the event and outlines recommendations for other coastal communities to increase disaster resilience. Read the report here.

The National Association of Climate Resilience Planners has released a framework entitled Community-Driven Climate Resilience Planning. This report advocates deepening democratic practices at the local and regional levels, puts forth principles and practices defining the emergent field of climate resilience, and offers examples and resources for community-based institutions implementing community-driven planning processes. Learn more.

Climate Migrants Story map: Climate change has begun to threaten vulnerable populations worldwide. This story map presents case studies of communities facing severe threats and displacement from the effects of climate change. Learn more.

In the Media
One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns. National Geographic

There is more CO2 in the atmosphere today than any point since the evolution of humans. CNN

Risks to real estate rise with sea levels. Climatewire

High erosion risk for beaches in SC, Southeast troubling for turtles and birds, study says. The Post and Courier

Drought Conditions Likely to Continue for Awhile. The St. John Source

Storm’s Toll Sharpens Definition of ‘Resilience’. Coastal Review Online

Tennessee is now breaking more high temperature records than lows, as heat stresses farms and families. Tennessean.

Notable Publications

Hurricane Sandy Impacts on Coastal Wetland Resilience. Researchers evaluated the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on surface elevation trends in estuarine marshes in the northeastern region of the United States. 965 surface elevation table-marker horizon (SET-MH) stations were situated in 96 unique geographical locations to assess the variation among pre-storm elevation trends and post-storm elevation measurements. In general, the results support previous research findings suggesting that the physical characteristics of a storm combined with the local wetland conditions are determining factors for a storm’s impact on soil elevation. Using this metadata, researchers created a  framework that could be used to develop a strategic monitoring network designed to address specific climate change impacts and inform adaptation and management decisions. Link to article.

Connectivity for species on the move: supporting climate‐driven range shifts. In a nutshell (from the Journal): Increasing landscape connectivity is one of the most frequently recommended adaptations for conserving biodiversity as the global climate changes. However, few existing connectivity modeling approaches directly account for climate change. Emerging methods to directly address climate‐driven movements generally rely on projected range shifts, climate trajectories and analogs (i.e., historical and future conditions that match), existing climatic gradients, and geophysical settings. Despite advances in this modeling realm, hurdles still remain – for example, addressing the spatial and temporal dynamism of climatic changes, capturing elusive climatic refugia, and managing uncertainties in species’ responses. In addition to addressing these challenges, connectivity models and plans will need to be tested.  Link to article.

A Coherent Statistical Model for Coastal Flood Frequency Analysis Under Nonstationary Sea Level Conditions. Coastal communities’ vulnerability to rising sea levels comes in the form of risks from acute storm surge as well as chronic tidal flooding events. Effective adaptation strategies must accommodate the cumulative losses from frequent smaller high-water levels (i.e., minor flooding) as well as acute losses from less frequent extreme high-water levels (i.e., major flooding). This study developed a nonstationary mixture probability model designed to overcome the inadequacy of widely used probability models to simultaneously characterize both minor and major flooding under higher global mean sea levels. After corroboration with long-term tidal station monitoring data, researchers evaluated current and future major and minor flood frequencies in coastal regions of the US. Results show that flooding frequency will increase in all coastal regions with higher sea level rise, though varying both temporally and regionally, with highest major flood frequency amplification on the Pacific coast. Link to article.

Live fast, die young: Accelerated growth, mortality, and turnover in street trees. Many municipalities have adopted greening initiatives in an effort to mitigate the environmental effects of urbanization, however, our understanding of vegetation structure and function based on intact, rural forests does not apply well to street trees that reside in urban ecosystems. Researchers utilized a box model to forecast short-term changes in street tree aboveground carbon pools under various planting and management scenarios, then compared the findings to rural, forested ecosystems. They discovered accelerated rates of carbon cycling in street trees, noting that the mean diameter growth rates were nearly four times faster in Boston, MA than in rural forest stands of MA. Mean mortality rates of street trees were more than double than their rural, forested counterparts. These findings suggest the need for initiatives to aid in the preservation of tree health to increase street tree canopy cover and maintain/increase carbon storage in vegetation. Link to article.

Mapping the world’s free-flowing rivers. Human-made dams and reservoirs are the leading contributors to the loss of river connectivity worldwide, as they fragment and regulate the natural river flow. This study assessed the connectivity status of 12 million kilometers of rivers globally and identified those that remain entirely free-flowing. Researchers discovered that only 37% of rivers longer than 1,000km remain free-flowing over their entire length and only 23% flow uninterrupted to the ocean. This study utilized a new method to quantify river connectivity and to map free flowing rivers, providing a foundation for concerted global and national strategies to preserve or restore river connectivity. Link to article.

Tribal News 

USET Climate Resilience Summit. This event is an opportunity for Tribal experts and partners to come together to share knowledge and best practices in building climate change resilience within our South and Eastern Tribal Nations. Presenters and facilitators will include Tribal Nations with climate adaptation plans, local practitioners in resilience building, and partners from the Northeast and Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Centers. The summit will take place from August 27-29, 2019 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. Learn more.

Bureau of Indian Affairs announces the availability of funding through the Tribal Resilience Program to provide funding for tribal activities that support tribal resilience and/or and ocean and coastal management planning as tribes incorporate the science (including Traditional Knowledge) and technical information to prepare for extreme events and harmful environmental trends that impact tribal treaty and trust resources, economies, infrastructure, and human health and welfare. Solicitations are available for federally-recognized tribes, linked here on the BIA Tribal Resilience site, and for not-for-profit, non-governmental tribal organizations and associations, and tribally-controlled colleges and universities, linked here. Tribal applications will receive priority. Please see the BIA Tribal Resilience webpage for more information. Proposals are due by June 10 at 9 pm ET.

Study examines impact of climate change on Louisiana’s Houma tribe. A professor of social work at the University of Illinois and a member of the United Houma Nation tribe has conducted a case study that reviews the impact of climate change on this tribe in southeastern Louisiana. The group is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels, erosion and other environmental changes. View the news article. View the publication.

Grants Education and Technical Assistance Webinar Series. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) invites you to a Grants Education and Technical Assistance Webinar Series for Tribes, Tribal Organizations, Indian Health, Tribal and Urban Indian Health Programs. This series will introduce the federal grant application process, how to write better grant proposals and evaluation plans for your projects, strategies for successful grant management, and more. The webinars are being held the second Wednesday of every month from 1:00pm to 2:30pm ET. Learn more.

Regional Partner News

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: A recording of the Climate Adaptation Surveys webinar is now available here. An executive summary is also available here.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Releases Assessments that Identify Target Areas for Coastal Resilience Conservation Projects.

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Planning Framework draft is available for a 45-day public review and comment period.


Find more webinar information in our calendar.

May 21 | 12PM – 1PM | Where does all the carbon go? Piecing together the North American carbon puzzle from a synthesis of top-down and bottom-up estimates.
May 21 | 6PM – 7PM | Estimating Coral Feeding Habits from Space
May 22 | 12PM – 1PM | Recent Trends in Nutrient & Sediment Loading to Coastal Areas of the Conterminous US: Insights & Global Context
May 22 | 1PM – 2:30PM | Tribal Resilience Across the Country: From Guidebook to Action
May 28 | 12PM – 1PM | Future of the North American Carbon Cycle
May 29 | 12PM – 1PM | Selling without selling out: How to communicate your science
June 7 | 11AM – 12PM | Lessons learned from the 2017-18 hurricane seasons and what lies ahead?
June 12 | 12PM – 1PM | Rigorously Valuing the Role of US Coral Reefs in Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction

Upcoming Events

Find more upcoming events in our calendar.

May 23 | Cape Fear River Assembly Climate Resiliency Conference | RTP, NC
June 6 | NC-ACS Climate Change and Sustainability Seminar | The Frontier at RTP, NC
June 11-12 | North Carolina Coastal Resilience Summit | Havelock, NC


The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University is seeking a post-doctoral fellow to complete research on several harvesting related projects. This is a 12-month, limited term non-tenure track position and is funded from external sources for up to two years. This position will focus on evaluating harvesting operations in Alabama, Georgia and Florida and collecting data from several logging operations in this region. Applications are due by June 15. Apply here.

A research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Atlantic Ecology Division in Narragansett, Rhode Island. The research participant will have the opportunity to gain experience in research concerning the drivers of and/or ecological responses to changes in coastal carbonate chemistry. Applications are due by July 29 at 3:00PM. Learn more.

The National Wildlife Refuge System is hiring a motivated student for a 180 day fellowship. The selected student will work with the Inventory and Monitoring branch to develop a regional implementation strategy to prioritize natural resource management objectives as a precursor to adaptive management. This project involves acquiring and processing information regionally to inform and implement the plan and piloting objective development procedures with a subset of refuges. This position can be based in Raleigh, NC Please contact Janet Ertel at if you are interested.

The Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami invites applications for a postdoctoral associate specializing in coral reef carbonate chemistry to work closely with scientists at RSMAS and NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory’s Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystem Division. This is a one year position and will not require the applicant to relocate to Miami. Learn more.

Hiring Announcements

The International Arctic Research Center (IARC) seeks a Science Communicator to interpret and share UAF research with various audiences. The successful applicant will join research projects to communicate results and implications that inform policymakers and help people adapt to a changing climate. This position will coordinate, manage, and perform the science communication needs of the AK CASC and SNAP groups and work within the IARC Science Communications team. Applications are due by May 23. Apply here.

Research Grants

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has opened a request for proposals for their 2019 National Coastal Resilience Fund. This program seeks to create, expand, and restore natural systems in areas that will both increase protection for communities from coastal storms, sea- and lake-level changes, inundation, and coastal erosion while also improving valuable habitats for fish and wildlife species. Pre-proposals are due by May 20. Learn more.

The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative is accepting proposals for the Resilience to Future Flooding project. This request is for coastal northern Gulf communities interested in increasing their resilience to sea-level rise and future flooding. Interested communities should submit a project idea that focuses on becoming more resilient to sea-level rise, future flooding, and related hazards. The deadline for submissions is May 24. Learn more.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is accepting applications for the Gulf Research Program Healthy Ecosystems Grant 4. The program will provide up to $5 million in grants to support research projects that will improve understanding of how coastal ecosystems in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region are affected by or interact with natural processes and human activities for the purpose of informing natural resource decision-making and management practices. A letter of intent is due by May 22 and full proposals are due by July 24. Apply here.