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National Science Foundation

FY2014Although the future of sage grouse depends on the future of sagebrush, we have limited ability to anticipate impacts of climate change on sagebrush populations. Current efforts to forecast sagebrush habitat typically rely on species distribution models (SDMs), which suffer from a variety of well-known weaknesses. However, by integrating SDMs with complementary research approaches, such as historical data analysis and mechanistic models, we can provide increased confidence in projections of habitat change. Our goal is to forecast the effect of climate change on the distribution and abundance of big sagebrush in order to inform conservation planning, and sage grouse management in particular, across the Intermountain...
Western Alaska is one of the fastest warming regions on the globe and recent trends are expected to continue into the next century, likely having substantial effects on the aquatic resources of this region. While increased air temperatures will have direct effects on water temperatures, indirect effects due to changes in precipitation, groundwater characteristics, and flow regimes may have much larger effects on aquatic ecosystems. Coastal watersheds of Western Alaska are expected to receive 25-50% more snow and 18-25% more rain in the next century. Future “climate warming” may actually cool some streams if the ratio of snow to rain increases for coastal watersheds, while rain-dominated streams are likely to become...
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Approximately 91.0 percent of the volume of present-day glacier ice on Earth is in Antarctica; Greenland contains about another 8.3 percent of the volume. Thus, together, these two great ice sheets account for an estimated 99.3 percent of the total. Long-term changes in the volume of glacier ice on our planet are the result of global climate change. Because of the relationship of global ice volume to sea level (± 330 cubic kilometers of glacier ice equals ± 1 millimeter sea level), changes in the mass balance of the antarctic ice sheet are of particular importance.Whether the mass balance of the east and west antarctic ice sheets is positive or negative is not known. Estimates of mass input by total annual precipitation...
The USGS and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Staff operate and maintain a streamgage at Hulahula River near Kaktovik, Alaska. Data from this station is necessary to complement glacier mass-balance studies and provide information necessary to project stream flow regimes under various scenarios of climate change. This project includes operation, acquiring real-time data, analysis of the data, and internet access. The gauge continues to operate as of 2017.
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Sea otters are the only fully marine otter. They share a common ancestry with the Old World land otters, but their route of dispersal to the New World is uncertain. The historic range of the species is along the northern Pacific Ocean rim, between central Baja California and the islands of northern Japan. Because they forage almost exclusively on bottom-dwelling marine invertebrates such as clams, snails, crabs, and sea urchins, they predominantly occur near shore. Their offshore distribution is limited by their diving ability; although they are capable of diving to more than 100 meters deep, most of their feeding takes place between the shoreline and depths of 40 meters. They are social animals, generally resting...
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