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February 2022 Newsletter

February 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center’s February 2022 Newsletter.

For news and upcoming events related to the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center,
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SE CASC News | Resources | Publications | Tribal News | Partner News | Webinars | Events | Opportunities

Photo Credits: Alan Cressler, USGS

Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center News

Save the Date! The 2022 SE CASC Regional Science Symposium is rescheduled for Sept. 19-21, 2022, to ensure a safe in-person experience for participants. Stay tuned for reopening of registration and call for abstracts for the Poster/Tools Networking session.

Dr. Ken Krauss, USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, presented Science to Inform the Management of Mangrove Ecosystems Undergoing Sea Level Rise at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida on Jan. 19. View a recording of this presentation.

Join our next virtual Science Seminar on March 22, 1 pm ET, Incorporating the Benefits of Natural and Working Lands in Conservation Planning, presented by Katie Warnell, Duke University. Register for the seminar.

Explore the SE CASC 2020-21 Annual Report to learn more about our science projects, Global Change Fellows, outreach events, and other exciting news from the past year.

Researcher Spotlights: Learn about Global Change Fellows Stephanie Kelly and Melody Hunter-Pillion.

We welcome Dr. Kasia Nikiel who joins us as a Climate Impacts Postdoctoral Scholar supporting our broader exploration of climate impacts to at-risk species in the eastern US.

Duke University researchers Katie Warnell and Lydia Olander have developed several dashboards that make accessible data and analyses of the status and benefits of natural and working lands in NC and a story map to introduce these tools. Learn more.

USGS Research Ecologist Michael Osland is lead author of The impacts of mangrove range expansion on wetland ecosystem services in the southeastern United States: Current understanding, knowledge gaps, and emerging research needs, a product of SE CASC project, Identifying the Ecological and Management Implications of Mangrove Migration in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Learn more.

University Assistant Director Aranzazu Lascurain consulted on a project highlighted in Student Journalists Offer Coastal Voices on Climate Change to a Worldwide Audience.

2015-16 Global Change Fellow Erica Henry was lead author and USGS Research Ecologist Adam Terando co-authored, Shifting precipitation regimes alter the phenology and population dynamics of low latitude ectotherms, which demonstrates the impact of precipitation in addition to warming on populations of endangered butterflies. Learn more.

Global Change Fellow Melody Hunter-Pillion authored Oral histories battling climate change, describing her research as well as the SE CASC Caribbean Oral History project.

Dynamic Flow Alteration Index for Complex River Networks With Cascading Reservoir Systems, was published by 2020-21 Global Change Fellow Hemant Kumar and Faculty Affiliate Sankar Arumugam. Read a summary.

2020-21 Global Change Fellow Lise Montefiore recently published, Reconstructing the historical expansion of industrial swine production from Landsat imagery, and Can a simple water quality model effectively estimate runoff-driven nutrient loads to estuarine systems? A national-scale comparison of STEPLgrid and SPARROW. Faculty Affiliate Natalie Nelson is co-author on both papers.

2019-20 Global Change Fellow Sam Flake authored and Faculty Affiliate Bill Hoffmann co-authored Not all trees can make a forest: Tree species composition and competition control forest encroachment in a tropical savanna.

2018-19 Global Change Fellow Deja Perkins was honored as a Black STEM Leader in NC for her work as co-organizer of Black Birders Week and #BlackAFinSTEM.

2018-19 Global Change Fellow Bonnie Myers co-authored Climate change risks and adaptation options for Madagascar.

2016-17 Global Change Fellow Gabrielle Corradino was lead author and Faculty Affiliate Astrid Schnetzer co-authored Grazing of a heterotrophic nanoflagellate on prokaryote and eukaryote prey: ingestion rates and gross growth efficiency.

SE CASC Staff, current and former Global Change Fellows, and Faculty Affiliates presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting. Learn more.

University of Florida’s Florida Water & Climate Alliance Webinar: Perspectives on Saltwater Intrusion summary and recordings are available. Learn more.

Consortium PI Lydia Olander was named a 2021 AAAS Fellow.

Faculty Affiliate K.C. Busch co-authored What effective design strategies do rural, underserved students in STEM clubs value while learning about climate change?

Faculty Affiliate Marcelo Ardon co-authored, Identifying Sources and Oxidation of Methane in Standing Dead Trees in Freshwater Forested Wetlands

Conservation Corridor: Strategies for achieving 30×30 goals.

Project Spotlight

Identifying the Ecological and Management Implications of Mangrove Migration in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
As winter warming accelerates, mangrove range expansion is expected to increasingly modify wetland ecosystem structure and function. This project leveraged data and information from a community-curated data network to refine temperature thresholds for mangrove range expansion in a warming climate and examined current understanding of the effects of mangrove range expansion and displacement of salt marshes on wetland ecosystem services, providing information to support coastal managers. The project was led by SE CASC Principal Investigator Mike Osland. Learn more.


State Climate Summaries. NOAA developed new climate summaries and an interactive website that provide up-to-date, local perspectives on climate in each state, covering continental U.S. plus Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more.

Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States: A Focus on Six Impacts.This report by U.S. EPA improves our understanding of the degree to which four socially vulnerable populations–defined based on income, educational attainment, race and ethnicity, and age–may be more exposed to the highest impacts of climate change. Learn more.

Heritage at Risk Case Studies of Climate Change Impacts Story Map. This describes case studies by archaeologists working in different locations on impacts of climate change to heritage sites and to the communities in which they are located, developed by the Society for Historical Archaeology. Learn more.

Biodiversity at Risk. This booklet by National Academies provides an overview of the many dimensions of biodiversity and why it’s vital to the health of all life on the planet. It also examines the causes of biodiversity loss and presents actions that can be taken to stop this decline. Learn more.

2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report. NOAA released up-to-date sea level rise projections for all U.S. states and territories. This multi-agency effort provides projections out to the year 2150 along with information to help communities assess potential changes in average tide heights and height-specific threshold frequencies in order to support adaptation to sea level rise. Learn more.

In the Media
Flooding will get worse in Tampa Bay.Tropical Storm Eta showed how. Tampa Bay Times
How climate change is forcing cities to rebuild stormwater systems. NPR
Give Native Problem-Solver Giant River Cane A Chance. The Transylvania Times

Notable Publications

Interacting global change drivers suppress a foundation tree species. This paper summarizes a longleaf pine field study designed to investigate the interactions of two environmental drivers–drought and plant invasion–on a third stressor–fire. Results showed that plots that were subjected to invasion of cogongrass, a widespread invasive plant species, experienced much higher flames when burned, along with greater fuel loads and higher burn temperatures. Plots that were subjected to drought plus plant invasion had higher fuel loads and shorter trees, leading to highest flame heights and higher tree mortality. Mechanistic models showed that maximum burn temperature and heating duration did not contribute to tree mortality. They conclude that, given climate-driven projected range expansion of cogongrass and other invasive plant species as well as greater drought risk and severity and potential for wildfire, understanding effects of multiple stressors will be critical for adaptive management of longleaf and other forest ecosystems. Link to article.
Unraveling a century of global change impacts on winter bird distributions in the eastern United States. This paper attempts to disentangle the relative impacts of global change drivers–climate and land-use/land-cover (LULC) change–both of which have been shown to influence the distributions of plants, mammals, birds, insects, and aquatic organisms. Authors use site-specific occurrence data from Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count program for 89 bird species over 90 years along with environmental and habitat variables to evaluate responses to climate and land use changes, modeling changes in multi-species occurrence probabilities as a function of decadal changes in climate and LULC. Their analysis leads to the conclusion that climate has generally governed the winter occurrence of birds in space and time, while species that are more habitat-constrained, such as grassland birds, shorebirds, waterbirds, have been more responsive to LULC change. Link to article.
An inconvenient misconception: Climate change is not the principal driver of biodiversity loss. Journal abstract. The current perception that climate change is the principal threat to biodiversity is at best premature. Although highly relevant, it detracts focus and effort from the primary threats: habitat destruction and overexploitation. We collated causes of vertebrate extinctions since 1900, threat information for amphibia, birds, and mammals from the IUCN Red List, and scrutinized others’ attempts to compare climate change with commensurate anthropogenic threats. In each analysis, none of the arguments founded on climate change’s wide-ranging effects are as urgent for biodiversity as those for habitat loss and overexploitation. Present conservation efforts must refocus on these issues. Conserving ecosystems by focusing on these major threats not only protects biodiversity but is the only available, economically viable, global strategy to reverse climate change. Link to article.
Incorporating Climate Uncertainty into Conservation Planning for Wildlife Managers. This article describes current practices and thinking in the US Fish and Wildlife Service related to climate uncertainty and management decisions to conserve fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. Authors focus on three areas of conservation planning: evaluating species to be listed as threatened or endangered, Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) for listed species, and land management techniques on wildlife refuges. They cite several approaches and tools useful for informing management responses under climate uncertainty: Value of information analysis as part of structured decision analysis; scenario-based planning to assess a variety of plausible future conditions under a range of future time periods; screening projects, and developing guidance for analyzing, the relevance of climate change to species and projects subject to HCPs; and development of nature-based solutions for increasing climate resiliency. They conclude with recommendations for improving inclusion of climate uncertainty into USFWS actions, such as increasing climate-science-knowledgeable staff capacity and co-producing conservation frameworks that incorporate climate science. Link to article.
Tradeoffs in habitat value to maximize natural resource benefits from coastal restoration in a rapidly eroding wetland: is monitoring land area sufficient? This study draws on coastal restoration activities planned as part of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan initiated in 2007 to investigate three questions related to emergent wetlands: (1) Do emergent wetland salinity types vary in benefits to components of the values for aquatic and terrestrial habitat and societal well-being? (2) What are relative habitat values of emergent wetland and shallow open water? (3) Over a period of six decades of land loss, does inclusion of habitat value for land that eroded to shallow open water change the calculated rate of loss of habitat value? Authors developed habitat suitability indices for 10 fauna and for 4 factors related to social well-being and evaluated them for current conditions and temporal trends. They conclude that loss of coastal wetlands initially creates shallow open water that still has high potential habitat value for many natural resources and that not accounting for the potential value of shallow open water habitat will lead to an overestimation of the loss of ecosystem benefits due to land loss. Link to article.

Tribal News

Visit USET Climate Change Headlines for updates on information regarding climate science events, funding opportunities, best practices, and highlights from across the USET region.

Native American Fish & Wildlife Society hybrid 2022 Annual National Conference will be held May 9-12, 2022 hosted by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida  at the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming in Miami, FL. Submissions for abstracts and student posters are now being accepted here, as well as memorial submissions here and nominations for national awards here. Student Conference Travel Scholarships available for undergraduate and graduate students. All are due March 18.

Report from Indigenous Approaches to Rivercane Restoration Workshop held Oct. 13-15, 2021 by U.S Army Corps of Engineers Tribal Nations Technical Center of Expertise, is now available.

American Indian Studies Department at UNC Pembroke will host the 17th annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference on March 31-April 1. The meeting will be held virtually, with keynote presentation topic, “Indigenizing Critical Race Theory: The Right to Recognition and Indigenous Human Rights.” There is no cost to attend but registration is required. Learn more and register.

The recording of the Rising Voices Center for Indigenous and Earth Sciences’ online event, Building Relational and Effective Partnerships with Indigenous Communities with James Rattling Leaf and Gwen Bridge, is now available here.

Regional Partner News


Find more upcoming events in our calendar.
Feb. 22 | 1pm – 2pm | Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Drought and Water Monthly Webinar
Feb. 23 | 3pm – 4pm | NOAA Science Report Seminar: Climate and the Blue Economy
Feb. 24 | 12pm – 1pm | Climate Induced Habitat Changes in Commercial Fish Stocks
Feb. 24 | 3pm – 4pm | Climate Conversations: Biodiversity
Feb. 24 | 3:30pm – 4:30pm | Facilitating Climate Change Adaptation through Scenario Planning and Simulation Modeling
Feb. 25 | 2pm – 3pm | USGS Friday’s Findings – Endangered Bumble Bees: Science on the Threats and Recovery
Mar. 1 | 12pm – 1pm | USDA/NRCS Coastal Zone Soil Survey – Mapping Soils and Blue Carbon Stocks in the Coastal US
Mar. 3 | 9am – 10am | Climate and Conservation Coffee
Mar. 8 | 10am – 11am | Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar
Mar. 17 | 10am – 11am | Forest Conservation Priorities for Landbirds in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley
Mar. 22 | 1pm-2pm | SE CASC Science Seminar: Incorporating the Benefits of Natural and Working Lands in Conservation Planning

Upcoming Events

May 9-12 | Native American Fish & Wildlife Society Annual National Conference | Miami, FL
June 14-16UCOWR/NIWR Annual Water Resources Conference | Greenville, SC
Aug 9-10 | Southeast Drought Early Warning System Partners Dialogue | Atlanta, GA
Sept 19-21 | Southeast CASC Regional Science Symposium | Gulf Shores, AL
Oct 25-27 | National Adaptation Forum | Baltimore, MD


Student Announcements
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Program is accepting applications from recent MS and PhD graduates for the Coastal Climate Resilience Fellowship Program for Local Adaptation to Climate Effects: Sea-Level Rise. Applications will be accepted here until Feb. 28.

North Carolina Sea Grant and the N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve are accepting applications for the 2022 North Carolina Coastal Research Fellowship. Apply here until March 4.

Hiring Announcements 
University of Arizona seeks a PostDoctoral Research Associate to focus on stakeholder engagement in environmental and natural resources governance. Applications are being accepted here.

USDA Caribbean Climate Hub is seeking candidates for the following positions: Science Communication and Outreach Intern, Project Assistants, and Project Coordinator. Learn more.

Program for Local Adaptation to Climate Effects: Sea-Level Rise is seeking a Resilience Coordinator, who will focus on sea-level rise science to support coastal decision-making among the built environment. Apply here. They also seek a Habitat Resilience Coordinator, who will focus on sea-level rise science to support coastal decision-making for the natural environment. Apply here.

Washington Sea Grant is hiring a Communications Specialist. Apply here.

North Carolina Sea Grant is accepting applications for a Science Writer and Digital Communications Specialist. Apply here.

Thriving Earth Exchange is seeking a Communications Program Manager. Applications can be submitted here.

NC State Climate Office is hiring a Research Scholar experienced with downscaled global climate model data. Apply here.

COMPASS Science Solutions Program is seeking candidates for a Program Associate and Program Manager. Apply here.

Funding Opportunities
National Science Foundation Program solicitation is open for Civic Innovation Challenge: A research and action competition driven by community priorities, which includes a track focused on Living in a changing climate: pre-disaster action around adaptation, resilience, and mitigation, due May 5. More information.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program seeks expert comment on the fourth and final volume of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report. Comments will be accepted here until March 1.

Network for Landscape Conservation requests input to a national survey of landscape conservation initiatives. Take the survey here.