University of FloridaDepartment of Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Use of Multi-Scale Models, Data and Scenario Projections to Reduce Risk of Climate Change and Human Disturbances on the Distribution of Threatened Shorebird Populations (Nesting Snowy Plovers and Wintering Piping Plovers) on Florida Coastal Military Installations

Participants: Gregory A. Kiker[596KB], Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Christopher Martinez, Matteo Convertino, Ma Librada Chu-Agor (University of Florida, ABE Dept. - IFAS), R. Fisher, I. Linkov (US Army Engineer R&D Center, Environmental Laboratory), H.R. Akcakaya, M. Aiello-Lammens (SUNY - Ecology Dept.)

Timeline: December 2009 - December 2011

Funding Agencies: Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program - Department of Defense (SERDP - DOD)

Project Summary

Sea level rise associated with climate change can drastically affect wetlands and beaches that are important foraging and nesting areas for shoreline dependent birds. As sea level rises, coastal habitats are inundated, eroded, or washed away which can result in habitat lost and in turn cause a decline in the population of these shoreline dependent organisms. In addition to sea level rise, human activities, along with urbanization can also contribute to population decline. Considering all these factors, the population of shoreline dependent birds are thus constantly being threatened which has stimulated efforts towards conservation and restoration.

Given uncertainty in future climate change scenarios and models as well as variability in local conditions, making sound environmental management decisions is a challenge. To support environmental management decisions, an integrated modeling framework is required. This consists of a model to simulate habitat changes linked to a meta-population model that simulates the population of a particular organism based on the projected habitat changes, and further linked with management decision analytics.

The overall objective of the proposed work is to integrate multi-scale climate, land use and ecosystem information into a systematic tool set to explore how climate variability and change effects may effect habitat and population dynamics for Snowy Plover and simplified habitat effects on Piping Plover and Red Knot on selected coastal Florida military sites (Eglin Air Force Base, Tyndall AFB, Pensacola Naval Air Station and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station). This multi-disciplinary research effort will integrate the following research steps:

Project Impacts

The generic evaluation framework being developed in this study can be applied to any modeling exercise for the following purposes:

  • To evaluate input-output relationship for model calibration and verification purposes.
  • For research prioritization and data collection in order to ensure efficient use of resources.
  • To understand the important processes driving a given system for planning and decision-making purposes.

Climate change effects are highly uncertain and variable in terms of their local intensity and effects upon specific geographical locations. Integrated database/model/uncertainty/decision tools proposed in this project will allow natural resource managers to systematically assess whether the uncertainty in database information and model results can clearly translate into practical decisions on mitigation plans. In addition, these modeling, uncertainty and decision tools can be configured to link into existing on-site, adaptive TER-S management and monitoring programs to aid in institutional learning and systematic use of data. We propose to provide site-specific information that will be useful to military natural resource managers for identifying the significance of military lands in contributing to the long-term sustainability of TER-S under various climate change scenarios. There are four principle objectives in our research:

  1. Assess current vulnerability scenarios and information on selected Florida installations by documenting and reviewing Florida-specific climate, land use databases and information.
  2. Develop a set of habitat- and species-based models for selected coastal TER-S (specifically Snowy Plover for species effects and Piping Plover and Red Knot for habitat effects).
  3. Assess the current prediction level and assumptions of selected categories of TER-S models for use in benchmarking model performance and uncertainty levels.
  4. Integrate the scientific data, modeling and uncertainty results into a risk-informed, multi-criteria decision analysis system to allow systematic analysis of potential management options.

Resource Links


Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Chu-Agor, M.L., R. Muñoz-Carpena, G. Kiker, A. Emanuelsson, and I. Linkov. 2010. Exploring sea level rise vulnerability of coastal habitats through global sensitivity and uncertainty analysis. Environ Modell Soft (In Review).
  • Chu-Agor, M.L., Muñoz-Carpena, R., and Kiker, G. 2010. Exploring the effects of classification errors on the outputs of a habitat model using global sensitivity and uncertainty analysis (A Technical Note In Preparation).
  • Convertino M., Kiker G.A., Muñoz-Carpena R., Aiello-Lammens M., Akcakaya H.R., Fisher R.A., Linkov I., Scale and Resolution Dependence of Habitat Suitability Niche-Models for Shorebird Populations, in preparation.

Conference Proceedings

  • Aiello-Lammens M., Akcakaya H.R., Fisher R.A., Convertino M., Kiker G.A., Martinez C., Linkov I., Integrated Climate Change and Threatened Bird Population Modeling to Assess Risks from Changes in Sea-Level and Weather Patterns, Abstract for 24th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB 2010), 3-7 July 2010, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  • Chu-Agor, M.L., R. Muñoz-Carpena, G. Kiker, A. Emanuelsson, and I. Linkov. 2010. Global sensitivity and uncertainty analysis: a tool for assessing the vulnerability of Eglin Air Force Base coastal habitat. Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2009, May 16-21, 2010, Providence, RI.

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