Presentation Abstract

Title: Predicting and managing climate change impacts on semi-arid land wetlands, shorebirds, and their prey.
Session Title: "Ecology, Conservation and Management of Birds"
Session Number: 44
Session Time: Monday, Oct 15, 2012, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Presentation Time: Monday, Oct 15, 2012, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Presentation Number: 12
Author(s): SEAN P. MURPHY1, Susan M. Haig1, John H. Matthews2, Mark P. Miller1, Travis M. Schmidt3, 1USGS-Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Corvallis, OR, 2Conservation International, Arlington, VA, 3USGS-Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, CO, Contact: smurphy@usgs.gov
Abstract Body: Anthropogenic climate change is altering aquatic ecosystems worldwide. As a result of these abiotic changes, shorebirds and their aquatic prey that depend on such wetlands are likely to experience significant shifts in range, phenology, and population structure, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions and thus already limited in water quantity and quality. We are developing a modeling framework to determine landscape-level impacts of climate change on wetlands and wetland-dependent species in semi-arid areas of North America’s Great Basin. The assessment of these impacts is not straightforward and requires a broad, integrative approach. Using a climatic dataset from 1900-2008, we will determine historic and current climate scenarios. Preliminary analyses have revealed several climate trends over the period of record. Using these scenarios, coupled with remote sensing and ground-level monitoring, we will create models of the relationships between water volume, water quality, weather, and climate to determine the scope of abiotic impacts from climate change. We are assessing the scale of wetland connectivity by using landscape-level population genetics of aquatic invertebrates that serve as key prey species for Great Basin shorebirds. Subsequently, we can use projections of future climates to model how wetland habitat quality and species connectivity will change in the coming decades and ultimately link these to shorebirds that depend on these wetlands. The Great Basin is critically important to several shorebird species and contains five sites that surpass Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Hemispheric Importance status. Our approach may serve as a general model for understanding population- and community-level climate impacts and provide a sound base for conservation planning and adaptive management by resource managers at several WHSRN sites.



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