Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Analysis of Ecoregions, Species Ranges and Reserve Networks under Current and Future Climate Regimes

EPA Grant Number: U915809
Title: Analysis of Ecoregions, Species Ranges and Reserve Networks under Current and Future Climate Regimes
Investigators: Biasi, Francis B.
Institution: Duke University
EPA Project Officer: Broadway, Virginia
Project Period: August 1, 2000 through August 1, 2003
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems

Objective:

This research is focused on the physical, climatological, and human variables that affect the distribution of biodiversity across North America. The goal is to analyze the current physio-climatic envelopes of ecoregions, nature reserves, species and ecological systems, and to compare these ranges to those under hypothesized future climate scenarios. A primary objective is to assess the sensitivity of these conservation planning and management units to the potential effects of climate and land use change. A secondary objective is to develop and test the use of a continuous ecological classification surface as a coarse-filter surrogate and stratification layer for capturing the full range of biodiversity in continental reserve networks. The final objective is to develop an impedance surface and connectivity model to evaluate the ability of species and ecological communities to spatially adapt to climate change.

Approach:

This research begins by developing a library of detailed physical, human, and climatological spatial data layers presumed to influence the distributions of species and ecological communities across North America. Spatial and multivariate analyses will be conducted on various stacks of gridded data layers to assess and characterize the physio-climatic range of all ecoregions, selected species, nature reserves, and proposed conservation sites across the continent. These results will be compared with the results of similar analyses conducted using several hypothesized climate change scenarios. Statistics and maps will be generated to quantify and illustrate the differences in distribution and representation of physio-climatic envelopes between current and future ecoregions, species ranges, and reserve networks. Finally, an impedance surface and connectivity model will be developed and analyzed to evaluate the ability of species and ecological communities to spatially adapt to climate change.

Expected Results:

Results of these analyses will help conservation planners assess the risks of climate and land use change to current reserve networks, and help guide the design and management of future networks.

Supplemental Keywords:

biodiversity, conservation, ecoregions, reserve networks, climate change, risk assessment, ecology, geology, species, biogeography, spatial analysis, multivariate analysis, geographic information systems, GIS., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecology, climate change, Atmospheric Sciences, Ecological Risk Assessment, ecosystem models, environmental monitoring, biodiversity, climatic influence, climate models, GIS, habitat diversity, ecosystem impacts, species response, climate variability