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INHS Seminar - Sensitivity of freshwater systems to changes in climate and land use

Event Type
Illinois Natural History Survey Seminar Committee
1005 Forbes Natural History Building, 1816 S Oak Street, Champaign
Oct 22, 2019   3:30 pm  
Jason Knouft, Department of Biology, Saint Louis University
Dr. Chris Taylor
Originating Calendar
INHS Events

Freshwater species represent some of the most imperiled taxa on the planet. Ongoing changes in climate and land use are expected to further contribute to population declines. The integration of field-based research with biodiversity and environmental informatics data represents a powerful approach for projecting the impacts of human activities on freshwater systems. This approach also allows for the investigation of potential management opportunities to minimize anthropogenic impacts on freshwater systems. This seminar will focus on the development of ‘Hydroclim’, a database of monthly streamflow and water temperature estimates for all stream sections in major watersheds across the United States and Canada spanning the years 1950-2099, including estimates based on 39 GCM projections. The Hydroclim data are integrated with field and museum based biodiversity data to investigate the potential impacts of climate change on freshwater species distributions and diversity in the northeastern United States, the Mobile River Basin in Alabama, and the Meramec Watershed in eastern Missouri. Results indicate that population responses to changes in climate vary across regions, with impoundments causing significant constraints on species’ ability to track changes in water temperature. Moreover, physical habitat, such as geology, sedimentation, and landcover, can be more important than climate in regulating species distributions in the coming century. Management of the impacts of climate change may be possible, to a limited degree, when best management practices are applied at the watershed scale.

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