The results are in and after an extensive review by a variety of subject matter experts, your steering committee is happy to announce the selection of the cooperative’s 2012 science projects! These projects represent a significant investment ($1.3 m) in the immediately limiting gaps needed to develop the South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint. Thanks to all who put time and effort into reviewing these proposals, and thanks to all the investigators who spent time writing them. There were a lot of great proposals, and it wasn’t an easy process to choose just a few. We look forward to seeing the progress and results of these efforts. They will be important information needed to help create the Conservation Blueprint. For more information on the projects, see the Projects page of the South Atlantic LCC web site.
Please see below for a short description of each project and if you have any questions contact Rua Mordecai, Science Coordinator at the South Atlantic LCC.
Development of Regional Estuarine and Marine Natural Resource Maps for the South Atlantic
While great progress is being made on terrestrial and freshwater systems, SALCC conservation planning models are being limited by consistent data on estuarine and marine ecosystems. The consistent spatial datasets depicting seafloor habitats, migratory species (e.g. cetaceans, sea turtles, diadromous fish) distributions, and estuarine and coastal habitats that are the products of this project will help SALCC planning models estimate vulnerability and response to conservation actions for many key coastal and aquatic species. PI: Mary Conley, The Nature Conservancy
Synthesis of High and Low Marsh Habitat Mapping, Vulnerability and Responses to Sea-Level Rise in the South Atlantic Region
High and low marsh habitats are already facing the biggest changes from future threats like sea level rise. Improved mapping (e.g. consistent spatial datasets on high and low marsh depicting historic distributions and dynamics, current distributions, and future vulnerability of these distinct habitat types) will provide better predictions for how key coastal zone resources are changing. PI: Tom Allen, East Carolina University
Regionalized Sensitivity Analysis and Related Techniques Applied to Landscape and Ecological Response Models
The project will: integrate SALCC landscape change models and ecological response models; identify key drivers of change in ecological response models; and assess how potential monitoring and research could be prioritized to reduce major sources of uncertainty (and hence the risk in any decisions informed by the model). Understanding the biggest drivers of change and the uncertainty in those predictions will be essential in targeting both future research and conservation actions in the South Atlantic LCC. PI: Ken Reckhow, Cardno ENTRIX
Mechanisms of Aquatic Species Invasions Across the SALCC
Changes in human populations and connectivity could potentially have large changes in how, where, and when species invasions occur. These invasions can have major impacts on natural, cultural, and socioeconomic resources and are not incorporated in SALCC planning models. This project will provide predictions of current and future distributions of nonindigenous aquatic species (NAS), as well as estimates of the benefits of potential conservation and management strategies. PI: Amy Benson, USGS
SMART-SLEUTH: Augmenting the SLEUTH Urban Growth Model with New Smart-Growth Scenario-Building Capabilities
Urban growth likely has the largest impact on natural and cultural resources in the SALCC. By incorporating smart growth practices as one scenario in SALCC urban growth models, the cooperative would be able to visualize and evaluate the potential benefits of smart growth policies on natural and cultural resources. PI: Ross Meetenmeyer, UNC-Charlotte
South Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Assessment and Tool
While your cooperative is making progress on terrestrial connectivity, aquatic connectivity and the effects of potential actions to improve that connectivity are still lacking. This project will build off a current SALCC collaboration with SARP and provide a foundational assessment of aquatic connectivity for target aquatic species. It will also create an online tool to help evaluate and prioritize dam modifications/removal for key species. PI: Colin Apse, The Nature Conservancy