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This SERDP and ESTCP webinar focuses on DoD-funded research related to new resource conservation paradigms on DoD lands. Specifically, investigators will discuss flow-population models that integrate non-stationary flow regimes with population dynamics and forecast potential impacts on aquatic and riparian taxa, and the application of spatially explicit population models models to predict how conservation reliant species will respond to non-analogue climate conditions.



“Flow-Population Models for Tracking Non-Stationary Changes in Riparian and Aquatic Ecosystems” by Dr. David Lytle (SERDP Project RC-2511 Webpage)

Climate change is expected to alter temperature and precipitation patterns on military lands throughout the western United States, and this will alter the timing, frequency and magnitude of flood and drought events. These changes in streamflow regime will directly affect populations of aquatic organisms (fish, aquatic invertebrates and riparian vegetation) and indirectly affect stream-dependent birds, reptiles and mammals, including federally threatened and endangered species and other at-risk species. Although climate models as drivers of hydrologic models are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ability to enable forecasting changes in streamflow regime at small spatial scales (e.g., <144 km2), current species population models do not accommodate the non-stationary effects that shifting flow regimes can exert on population trajectories and viability. Thus, a critical gap remains between our ability to model how climate change will alter streamflow regimes and our ability to predict how these changes will impact management-sensitive aquatic and riparian organisms. This presentation will cover the implementation of novel flow-population models that integrate non-stationary flow regimes with population dynamics and their utility to forecast potential impacts on aquatic and riparian taxa.

“Using Spatially Explicit Population Models to Predict Conservation Reliant Species in Non-Analogue Future Environments on DoD Lands by Dr. Brian Hudgens (SERDP Project RC-2512 Webpage)

The Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for managing threatened, endangered and rare species inhabiting its properties. Predicting which species will need ongoing management due to changing climate conditions is valuable for planning and prioritizing natural resource management needs. Making such predictions poses a significant challenge to DoD natural resource managers because climate influences demographic rates in numerous and complex ways. In many cases, demographic rates are affected by multiple climate variables, and it is not uncommon for the same climate variable to have opposing effects on different demographic rates. In this project, we developed and demonstrated the use of Spatially Explicit Environmental Driver (SEED) models linked to downscaled global climate change models to predict how a species will respond to non-analogue climate conditions. This presentation will demonstrate the application of SEED models to plants, insects, amphibians and birds to assist in species-level and base-level management planning, and to elucidate general patterns of which species are more or less likely to face increasing management needs due to changing climate conditions. 


Speaker Biographies
Dr. Davis Lytle

Dr. David Lytle is a professor in the department of integrative biology at Oregon State University. Dr. Lytle’s research, represented by over 80 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 is focused on developing community and population models to predict how aquatic organisms respond to non-stationary changes in river flow regimes. He earned his doctoral degree from Cornell University in New York and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona as a Smith Conservation Fellow.




Dr. Brian Hudgens

Dr. Brian Hudgens is vice president and senior scientist at the Institute for Wildlife Studies in Blue Lake, California. Dr. Hudgens’ research focuses on understanding ecological drivers of population dynamics in the context of wildlife conservation. He currently leads projects studying the effects of climate and movement barriers on pronghorn, avian, amphibian and butterfly populations. A common theme in his work is linking climate conditions to population processes, such as birth rates, growth rates and survival. He has also applied this approach to evaluate potential species reintroduction projects. Dr. Hudgens has led several projects assessing the influence of predator-prey and disease-host interactions on population dynamics in the context of wildlife conservation. Much of his work relates to managing and monitoring rare, threatened and endangered species on DoD lands. Dr. Hudgens earned his bachelor's degree in biology and environmental policy from Pomona College in California and his doctoral degree in zoology from Duke University in North Carolina.