Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What climate change means for federally protected marine species

Date:
December 11, 2013
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
As the Endangered Species Act nears its 40th anniversary, climate scientists and conservation biologists are looking at what global climate change will mean for the legislation.

Chinook are the largest species of salmon. Several populations are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Credit: Pacific Northwest National Lab

As the Endangered Species Act nears its 40th birthday at the end of December, conservation biologists are coming to terms with a danger not foreseen in the early 1970s: global climate change.

Federal fisheries scientists have published a special section in this month's issue of Conservation Biology that outlines some considerations for coming decades. A University of Washington climate scientist helped biologists determine the long-term forecast for aquatic animals.

Eight papers in the special section, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service, include case studies for species ranging from chinook salmon to steelhead to 82 different types of coral.

Snover is lead author of a paper on choosing and using climate-change scenarios to inform policy for endangered marine species.

"We tried to distill what climate scientists know in a way that would be useful for conservation biologists," Snover said.

Choice of scenario will depend on the species -- a salmon that moves between mountain streams and the open ocean, for example, is different from an animal that scurries along a sandy beach or that clings to a rock at the bottom of the ocean. The paper gives a choose-your-own-adventure approach to picking an appropriate set of climate projections.

"People who are trying to make decisions that account for climate change are often bewildered or overwhelmed by the large number of scenarios that are available, and think in many cases that they're too uncertain to be used," Snover said. "We're establishing a strategy for choosing from this vast array of scenarios, and strategies that are defensible in litigious situations like the (Endangered Species Act)."

The paper's broad-based approach could also apply to land animals, she said.

The paper also includes a "reality check" table to counter some common misperceptions about climate models -- for example, that they differ too much to predict any useful trends, or that their uncertainty could be reduced by somehow finding the best model to use.

Trends that are certain to affect marine species, Snover said, include increasing ocean acidification, warmer water temperatures and changes in level and timing of stream flows.

"Despite the significant uncertainty that remains about potential future climates, we know enough to assess impacts and incorporate that information into conservation decisions," Snover said.

Co-authors on the paper are Nathan Mantua, a former UW scientist now at NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service in Santa Cruz, Calif.; Jeremy Littell, a former UW scientist now at the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Climate Science Center in Anchorage; Michael Alexander at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.; Michelle McClure at NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle; and Janet Nye at Stony Brook University. The research was partially supported by NOAA through the UW-based Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Hannah Hickey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amy K. Snover, Nathan J. Mantua, Jeremy S. Littell, Michael A. Alexander, Michelle M. Mcclure, Janet Nye. Choosing and Using Climate-Change Scenarios for Ecological-Impact Assessments and Conservation Decisions. Conservation Biology, 2013; 27 (6): 1147 DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12163

Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "What climate change means for federally protected marine species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211132859.htm>.
University of Washington. (2013, December 11). What climate change means for federally protected marine species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211132859.htm
University of Washington. "What climate change means for federally protected marine species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211132859.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins