April 25, 2014

MBL Scientists to Study Coastal Waterbird Habitats through Funding for President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

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WASHINGTON, D.C.–Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced in December that Interior’s eight regional Climate Science Centers (including the Northeast CSC, a consortium that includes the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.) are awarding nearly $7 million to universities and other partners for research as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, move our economy toward clean energy sources, and prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change.

Deegan and Neill's study will help resource managers address the impacts of sea-level rise and coastal flooding  on migratory waterbirds and their habitats, including salt marshes, which are a critical interface between land and sea.  Photo of Plum Island, Mass., marsh by David S. Johnson

Deegan and Neill’s study will help resource managers address the impacts of sea-level rise and coastal flooding on migratory waterbirds and their habitats, including salt marshes, which are a critical interface between land and sea. Photo of Plum Island, Mass., marsh by David S. Johnson

A common tern at Ram Island, Mass. Photo by Craig Gibson

A common tern at Ram Island, Mass. This shorebird breeds at a number of coastal island and barrier beach sites in Massachusetts. Photo by Craig Gibson

The 50 newly funded projects will address how climate change will affect natural resources as well as management actions that can be taken to help offset such impacts. A full list of the projects is here.

“Even as we take new steps to cut carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country,” said Secretary Jewell. “These new studies, and others that are ongoing, will help provide valuable, unbiased science that land managers and others need to identify tools and strategies to foster resilience in resources across landscapes in the face of climate change.”

MBL senior scientists Linda Deegan and Chris Neill of the Ecosystems Center are participating in one of the seven studies funded through the Northeast CSC. Their study is designed to help resource managers address the impacts of sea-level rise and coastal flooding on migratory waterbirds and their habitats. The lead principal investigator for the project is Richard Palmer of University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The other studies funded through the Northeast CSC address a range of climate-change management topics, such as forecasting how forests in New England will change between now and 2099 under different climate and landscape change scenarios. This knowledge will help resource managers develop strategies to enhance the forests’ ability to adapt to changing conditions.

The Department of Interior’s national network of Climate Science Centers was created in 2009 to address the impacts of climate change on America’s waters, land, and other natural and cultural resources.

Deegan is a Northeast CSC principal investigator, while MBL Ecosystem Center scientists Jerry Melillo, Anne Giblin, Jim Tang, and Joe Vallino are affiliated investigators. The Northeast CSC is hosted by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and also includes the MBL, the College of Menominee Nation, Columbia University, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, Columbia, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

This announcement was adapted from a press release provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.

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The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago.