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Tuesday, January 30 • 9:20am - 9:40am
SYMPOSIA-09: Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability for Wildlife

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AUTHORS. Benjamin Zuckerberg, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ilona Naujokaitis-Lewis, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, Environment and Climate Change Canada; Lars Pomara, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

ABSTRACT. Many wildlife agencies are engaging in various efforts for assessing climate change vulnerability. These assessments are critical tools allowing communities to design and conduct a planning process for climate-related planning. The basis of these vulnerability assessments relies on evaluating species’ sensitivity to climate variability as well as the exposure of certain populations to future and historic climate change. Currently, many climate change vulnerability assessments rely on expert-driven scoring of individual species or communities.  In recent years, however, there has been a growing need to provide a more quantitative approach for assessing vulnerability. Demographically-informed species distribution models present a critical tool for quantifying sensitive and exposure for climate-sensitive species. We will present two case studies highlighting the use of these models for assessing climate change vulnerability. The first case study explores the role of historic and future climate change on the distribution and population viability of eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) throughout their range. We found that eastern massasauga rattlesnakes are sensitive to winter drought and summer flooding and exposure to future climate conditions will lead to a continued extirpation wave originating in the southwestern portion of their range. In our second case, we demonstrate how winter climate influences the cycling of ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) throughout the Upper Midwest, and that future winter conditions will promote the dampening of the cycles in southerly regions of their range. Both of these examples demonstrate the power of current methods in species distribution modeling and viability analyses for evaluating the vulnerability of wildlife populations to future climate change.  

Tuesday January 30, 2018 9:20am - 9:40am
102C

Attendees (5)