Climate Change and Land Use Effects on the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

by Kelsey D’Ewart

Climate change has been a pervasive issue when looking at the health and protection of endangered species. However, land- use has also been a significant factor in the decreasing population size of endangered species. Together, climate and land-use change affect habitat, behavioral patterns, phenology, and many other parts of many specie’s lives. This is especially relevant to species that have specific habitats, dietary needs, or both. If these issues are not addressed the risks of endangered species becoming extinct drastically increase. Bancroft et al. (2016) studied the affects of land use and climate change on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) using a modeling system that allows them to analyze different predicted land-use and climate change scenarios up until the year 2100. This study looks at the RCW population in Fort Benning, which includes specific pine forests vital to the RCW survival. The authors looked at three different potential future conditions: conservation, convenience, and worst-case, to determine what types of major changes might occur in the RCW population over the remainder of the century. Continue reading

Lower Oceanic O2 and Higher Temperatures Will Lead to a Shrinking Habitable Ocean Range

by Wendy Noreña

The effects of oceanic dead zones and lower dissolved oxygen on marine populations are now generally common knowledge as media reports about fishery devastation and coastal habitat destruction have reached popular media. However, serious scientific inquiries into declining O2 in our oceans have moved beyond the macroscale of events like dead zones and have begun to focus on the day-to-day utilization and depletion of oceanic oxygen in the face of climate change. Deutsch et al. (2015) contribute to future oceanic warming predictions with a metabolic index that puts the combined effects of decreased oxygen and increased temperature into perspective. Using data on four extensively researched marine ectotherms, including an open water fish (Atlantic cod), a benthic crustacean (Atlantic rock crab), a subtropic fish (sharpsnout seabream), and a common eelpout, the researchers calculate a ratio that compares the, “maximum sustainable metabolic rate,” of an oceanic region or depth with the minimum metabolic rate needed for the survival of a defined species. Ultimately, the study finds that we can expect a decrease of 14 to 26% in the habitable ocean regions for the four species outlined in their research and that similar numbers could likely be found for any other species’ data put through their metabolic model. Continue reading

The Importance of Fisheries Management in Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change on Global Fisheries

by Margaret Loncki

Fishery management plays an important role in maintaining sustainable fisheries around the world. The more effective and flexible management styles are, the better they will be able to adapt to changing fisheries as a result of climate change. The most common fishery management styles discussed by Melnychuk, Banobi, and Hilborn (2013) are harvest control and flexible season opening and closing dates. Continue reading

Altered Ecosystems by Strengthened Winds

by Jordan Aronowitz

Over the years, industrialization and urbanization have increased the amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases present in our atmosphere. Obviously, these changes have affected the environment by increasing average temperatures and overall sea level, but surprisingly, climate change is also affecting wind levels. Over the past 25 years, many researchers have sought to determine whether these changes in wind speed positively or negatively effect related ecosystems. A 1990 hypothesis proposed that these winds are increasing and will positively affect the neighboring ecosystems. A synthesis of the data from experiments analyzing these patterns is the best way to see if the changes in these essential wind patterns have helped or harmed the ocean ecosystems under them. It was determined that these winds have been increasing overall, but further data must be collected to see their effects on the prosperity of the ocean ecosystems. Continue reading