“Predicting, Measuring, and Monitoring Aquatic Invertebrate Biodiversity on Dryland Military Bases" by Dr. David A. Lytle
Aquatic habitats are among the most imperiled habitats on dryland military installations, yet they harbor a disproportionately high amount of biodiversity given the small land area they cover. Biodiversity in dryland aquatic habitats is strongly influenced by spatial and temporal variability. This project integrated mathematical modeling, invertebrate sampling, and statistical estimation to develop robust methodologies to track biodiversity of aquatic invertebrates on dryland military bases. A three-tiered approach was used: 1) rigorous measurements of aquatic invertebrate biodiversity in space and time, 2) modeling to predict key relationships between physical/landscape variables and biodiversity, and 3) development of web-based tools for streamlined monitoring of biodiversity. This research is critical to predict how management decisions (habitat modification, changes in hydrology, species introduction or removals) affect biodiversity at local as well as landscape scales, and it is a novel contribution from a basic science point of view. The databases and tools developed by our project will allow resource managers to estimate and allocate sampling efforts in future studies, and identify species of special concern (such as rare, habitat specialist, at range margins). These products are also deployable for other taxonomic groups of interest. This work also provides baseline measurements of aquatic invertebrate biodiversity on military lands, as more taxa become listed as state or federally Threatened or Endangered Species.
“More Extreme Monsoon Precipitation in the Southwestern United States and the Potential Implications for DoD Facilities" by Dr. Christopher L. Castro
Changes in extreme weather during the period of the North American monsoon in late summer is a concern for DoD facilities in the Southwestern United States, due to the potential exceedance of infrastructure limits and operational capability. This SERDP research project addressed changes in the occurrence and intensity of warm season extreme weather events in the Southwest. A new methodology to project severe weather events was developed, using convective-permitting regional atmospheric modeling of days with highest instability and atmospheric moisture. Severe weather event days for both historical climate and future climate projections were modeled similar to an operational weather forecast. Significant long-term changes in atmospheric thermodynamic and dynamic conditions during the monsoon in the Southwest have occurred over the past sixty years. Monsoon thunderstorms are becoming more 'thermodynamically dominated' with less tendency to organize and propagate. There tend to be a fewer number of strong, organized convective events during the monsoon with more intense precipitation. Southwestern Arizona, where many important and spatially expansive DoD assets are located, appears to be a local hot spot where organized convective events are becoming more intense, with heavier rainfall and more intense downdraft winds. These changes are consistent in historical observed precipitation data and modeled projections of historical and future climate. The simulations are sufficiently resolved to extract useful information at the DoD facility scale for impact assessment purposes. Model simulation data is available via cloud data storage and can be accessed by a variety of potential DoD and civilian users..
Dr. David A. Lytle is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University. Dr. Lytle’s research, represented by over 70 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, uses evolutionary ecology to understand how organisms and communities are shaped by disturbances such as floods, droughts, and dams. His SERDP-funded research develops community and population models for predicting how aquatic organisms respond to nonstationary changes in river flow regimes. He earned a PhD from Cornell University in 2000 and conducted postdoctoral research at University of Chicago and University of Arizona as a Smith Conservation Fellow.
Dr. Christopher L. Castro is an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona. His current research focuses principally on physical understanding and prediction of climate in North America through regional atmospheric modeling and analysis of observations. Specific topics include improving seasonal climate forecasts, convective-resolving simulations of severe weather, water resource projection at the regional and local scale, and contributions to parameterization development in the Weather Research and Forecasting model. Through regional atmospheric modeling and climate data analysis, he has studied North American monsoon for more than a decade. His SERDP-funded research investigates the changing nature of severe weather during the monsoon in relation to climate change. Dr. Castro is a member of the American Meteorological Society.