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March 16, 11AM ET: SE CASC Science Seminar – Climate Support for Species Status Assessments

Join us for virtual science seminars highlighting SE CASC funded projects supporting resource management actions across the Southeast. Each month a SE CASC researcher will provide an overview of their work and the management implications of their research findings.

Learn about other Science Seminars

Climate Support for Species Status Assessments
Dr. Catherine (Kasia) Nikiel (ORISE/SE CASC)
March 16, 2023 | 11AM ET
View recording here.

In order to inform decisions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been generating Species Status Assessments (SSA) since 2016. These reports guide initial listing decisions as well as ongoing management of threatened and endangered species. SSAs are intended to capture all biological information required for listing and management decisions: one important component of risk is the impact of climate change. Through partnership between physical scientists and ecologists, a robust assessment of the best available climate information paired with the most recent understanding of species ecology is key to defining the range of future risk for a given species.

In this seminar Dr. Nikiel will describe the efforts being undertaken at the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center in collaboration with other CASCs and USFWS managers to address gaps and uncertainties relating climate change and species ecology. She will discuss how climate information fits in the ESA and SSA process and the importance of incorporating robust climate-ecology analysis for a variety of species with diverse habitats, traits, and life-cycles. An overview of broader projects regarding ecological drought and hydrologic analysis will show the range of data and analysis that can be leveraged for better understanding of climate change impacts on at-risk species.

More about the speaker
Dr. Catherine (Kasia) Nikiel is an ORISE Research Program Participant working with the SE CASC as a Climate Impacts Post-doctoral Fellow. Her background is in civil engineering and hydroclimate, and she has worked on projects related to land use change impacts on regional climate in the Midwest, water availability in Egypt, and humid heat waves in the Eastern United States. Currently, she provides climate assessment for at risk species in order to aid Species Status Assessment teams in including the most robust and current climate science in their reports. She is also working on a range of projects investigating future hydrology and climate in the Eastern U.S. including the analysis of future flows under climate and land use change and the quantification of ecological drought impacts.

Catherine (Kasia) Nikiel, PhD