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Meeting Stakeholder Needs: Question 3

Tracking ecological implications and results: Who, what, and how have NC CSC products been used in ecological response modeling efforts?

This issue is primarily addressed through the Ecological Impacts Foundational Science Area.

The NC CSC’s Ecological Impacts Foundational Research Team directs its research toward developing quantitative methods for linking climate drivers to species and habitats of concern through ecological response modeling. This work started in 2012 with the pilot project done in collaboration with the NOAA National Climate Prediction and Projections (NCPP) project; which had the goals of: 1) exploring ways in which the climate information can help inform land management decisions through ecological response models and 2) developing approaches for ecological response modeling to be informed and enhanced by the translational climate information provided by NCPP. A synthesis paper for this pilot is in preparation.

The Ecological Impacts Foundational Research Team was initiated in 2012, and a syntheses paper from that group is also in preparation. This paper will address the question of how species and their life stages respond to different climate factors and how this variation in sensitivity to climate is important to consider when undertaking ecological niche modeling studies in support of natural resource climate adaptation planning.

On a more operational and practical level, there is a monthly webinar hosted by the Ecological Impacts Foundational Team, which includes technical modeling experts from the NC CSC staff and funded investigations and other members of the ecological response modeling community. These webinars promote collaboration across roughly a dozen ecological modelers with updates on current activities as well as open discussion on methodologies. These meetings take place on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 11:00 mountain time. People interested in joining these calls should contact Marian Talbert (mtalbert@usgs.gov) and Nathan Piekielek (npiekielek@gmail.com).

A key technical modeling component for ReVAMP and the Ecological Impacts Team is the Software for Assisted Habitat Modeling (SAHM). The software is open-source and publicly available. SAHM expedites habitat modeling and helps maintain a record of the various input data, the steps before and after processing, and the modeling options incorporated in the construction of an ecological response model. In order to help establish SAHM as a community platform for coordinated habitat modeling, the NC CSC, in conjunction with the USGS Fort Collins Science Center host SAHM training session twice yearly.

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