Vulnerability Assessment of Ecological Systems and Species to Climate and Land Use Change within the North Central Climate Change Center and Partner Land Conservation Cooperatives

Timeframe: 
2012 to 2013

The IoE, representing both The University of Montana and Montana State University, is a university consortium member of the North Central Climate Science Center.  The North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) is part of a network of eight CSCs created to provide scientific information, tools, and techniques that managers and other parties interested in land, water, wildlife and cultural resources can use to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change. 

Two current IoE projects contribute to the NC CSC Focus 2 Project Plan: Vulnerability Assessment of Ecological Systems and Species to Climate and Land Use Change within the North Central Climate Change Center and Partner Land Conservation Cooperatives.  

  • Dr. Andrew Hansen is leading efforts to framework for modeling vegetation type and species response to climate and land use change
  1. Contribute to the development of a common NC CSC protocol and framework for modeling vegetation type and species response to climate and land use change by evaluating and applying statistical niche modeling and/or  simulation modeling methods for up to 2-5 ecological system types in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and provide results back to the common framework to allow refinement and improvement. 
  2. Contribute to the writing of a peer review synthesis paper evaluating alternative methods of modeling vegetation type and species response to climate and land use change.
  3. Prepare publications resulting from the forecasting of ecological system type to future climate and land use change across the GYE.  
  4. Contribute to the development of a consortium-wide working group on biodiversity modeling within the NC CSC.  The working group will interact via the website and common framework described above, quarterly conference calls, and annual workshops.
  5. Train a post doctoral researcher in methods of addressing biodiversity under climate and land use change.  This training will occur within individual partner universities and in the workshops and conference calls mentioned above.
  6. Provide results of vulnerability assessments to management cooperators within the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative for incorporation into climate adaptation strategy planning. 
  • Dr. Cathy Whitlock is leading efforts to build a database of historical and paleoenvironmental records for targeted areas in the region
  1. Develop a vetted database of historical and paleoenvironmental records for targeted areas in the region.   The database will bring together proxy data (pollen, charcoal, macrofossil, diatoms, geochemical data, tree-ring records) and derivative products (reconstructions of snowpack, lake turnover, area burned, insect outbreaks, lake level, glacier fluctuations, stream flow, PDSI reconstructions).
  2. Create reconstructions of the late Holocene a synoptic climatology of extreme events (drought, severe winters, floods) to describe their regional distribution in the current neoglacial period that will provide context for recent change; focusing on the Greater Yellowstone region.
  3. Contribute to the development of a common NC CSC protocol and framework to support climate science agenda of NC CSC
  4. Contribute to the development of a consortium-wide working group on climate drivers, abrupt climate change and climate sensitivity.
  5. Train a postdoctoral researcher to participate in database development and regional paleoclimate reconstructions.
  6. Provide results to management cooperators within the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives for consideration in climate adaptation strategies.

Partners

MSU IoE Office

Montana State University
605 Leon Johnson Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-2374
MSU Director: Cathy Whitlock

UM IoE Office

The Universityi of Montana

The University of Montana
Davidson Honors College
Missoula, MT 59812
(406) 243-4848
UM Director: Ric Hauer

Montana EPSCoR

Program Director:  Ray Callaway
Project Administrator: Todd Kipfer
University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812
(406) 243-2617

Montana University System

Montana University System

Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
2500 Broadway Street
Helena, MT 59620
406-444-6570