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Global concern of an “insect apocalypse” is fueling demand for large-scale, long-term studies of insect population dynamics. Butterflies associated with open habitat, like prairies and grasslands, have long been identified as species of concern in the Midwest. The iconic monarch butterfly, which serves as a flagship for both migration and insect conservation, is one such species of conservation concern and is currently under consideration for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act. Recent analyses suggest that common, widespread species may also be declining. Yet robust evidence for general declines is patchy and the causes are difficult to discern. Understanding the relative importance of climate, land...
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Manoomin, or wild rice, is an essential, sacred species for Native people throughout the Upper Great Lakes region, who have relied on the plant for food and ceremony for hundreds of years. Manoomin is also important to non-Native people, who also harvest it and benefit from the wildlife sustained by it. Manoomin is an indicator of ecosystem health—if manoomin is healthy so is the surrounding ecosystem. Unfortunately, this aquatic grass has declined across much of its range due to multiple human-caused stressors, including changes to water levels in the lakes and streams in which manoomin grows. Climate change will further disrupt water levels, most directly through changes in precipitation, but also through climate-driven...
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Stream fish are in peril from a changing climate, particularly for species with restricted distributions or populations on the southern edge of their range. For these fish, the opportunity to escape warming temperatures is limited by the network of stream channels accessible to them. To deal with temperatures beyond their physical capacity, fishes must move, adapt, or die. However, little is known for many of these species about their preferred temperatures, critical temperature limits, or capacity to adapt to or tolerate increasing temperatures. Researchers will measure the preferred temperatures and tolerance of two stream fish that are vulnerable to climate change: the Ozark Shiner and the Blacknose Shiner. The...
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Forests across the U.S. are experiencing unprecedented tree mortality caused by a variety of stressors, including invasive insects, disease, extreme weather, wildfires, and droughts. For example, the emerald ash borer, a nonnative insect, has killed tens of millions of trees in the Lake States region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan alone in the past decade. Tree die offs alter the structure of forests, making them less-suitable habitat for many species, and decrease their ability to perform important ecosystem functions, such as carbon sequestration. Climate change further threatens already damaged forests, as shifting temperature and precipitation conditions alter species’ range limits. To prevent additional...
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Cyanobacteria blooms are one of the most significant management challenges in the Great Lakes today. Recurring blooms of varying toxicity are commonly observed in four of the Great Lakes, and the fifth, Lake Superior, has experienced intermittent nearshore blooms since 2012. The recent advent of cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Superior is disconcerting, given the highly valued, pristine water quality of the large lake. It is possible that the ecological state of Lake Superior is shifting and that we are witnessing the beginnings of larger and longer lasting bloom events. As a public resource, the coastal water quality of Lake Superior has tremendous economic, public health, and environmental value, and therefore,...
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Waterfowl are of substantial economic and cultural importance, with over 1 million hunters contributing approximately $700 million in total expenditures to local and regional economies annually. However, shifts or expansions in waterfowl distribution driven by the interacting effects of a warming climate, changes in habitat resources, and altered anthropogenic pressures will present challenges to effective management and conservation. Understanding historical changes in waterfowl distributions and the associated drivers of these changes would improve the ability of natural resource managers to anticipate future changes and develop more adaptive conservation and management approaches for potential shifts in waterfowl...
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Stocking, or raising fish in hatcheries and releasing them into a body of water, is routinely used to supplement or maintain fisheries when natural populations are low or nonexistent. Demand for stocking cool and coldwater fish species that support important fisheries will likely increase as a result of climate change, but fish available for stocking are a limited resource. Consequently, climate change will likely affect supply-and-demand tradeoffs associated with stocking fish in the future, where demand for fish is likely to exceed supply. Researchers will examine supply-and-demand tradeoffs using walleye, which represent an ideal species for this assessment because they are a native coolwater species supporting...


    map background search result map search result map Exploring the Potential for Adaptive Tree Plantings to Restore and Sustain Forest Habitats Across the Upper Lake States Climate, Storms, and the Drivers of Cyanobacteria Blooms in Lake Superior Supply-and-Demand Dynamics Associated with Using Stocking to Maintain Walleye Fisheries in the Face of Climate Change Impacts of Climate Change on Vegetation, Ecohydrology, and Management of Manoomin (Wild Rice) Watersheds Linking Stream Fish Thermal Ecology and Adaptive Capacity to Inform Watershed-Based Management and Species Status Assessments Identifying Effects of Weather and Land Use on Autumn and Winter Waterfowl Distribution Dynamics in the 21st Century Evaluating the Role of Climate on Midwestern Butterfly Trajectories, Monarch Declines, and the Broader “Insect Apocalypse” Climate, Storms, and the Drivers of Cyanobacteria Blooms in Lake Superior Impacts of Climate Change on Vegetation, Ecohydrology, and Management of Manoomin (Wild Rice) Watersheds Linking Stream Fish Thermal Ecology and Adaptive Capacity to Inform Watershed-Based Management and Species Status Assessments Exploring the Potential for Adaptive Tree Plantings to Restore and Sustain Forest Habitats Across the Upper Lake States Evaluating the Role of Climate on Midwestern Butterfly Trajectories, Monarch Declines, and the Broader “Insect Apocalypse” Supply-and-Demand Dynamics Associated with Using Stocking to Maintain Walleye Fisheries in the Face of Climate Change Identifying Effects of Weather and Land Use on Autumn and Winter Waterfowl Distribution Dynamics in the 21st Century