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Monday, February 6 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Technical Session. Combining Weather Data and Climate Projections: A Case Study with Lesser Prairie-Chickens

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AUTHORS: Alixandra J. Godar, U.S. Geological Survey Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; Cody P. Griffin, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida; Blake A. Grisham, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University; David A. Haukos, U.S. Geological Survey Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; Sarah R. Fritts, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University; Beth E. Ross, U.S. Geological Survey South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research, Clemson University; Clint W. Boal, U.S. Geological Survey Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Texas Tech University; Christian A. Hagen, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University; Michael A. Patten, University of Oklahoma; James C. Pitman, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies


ABSTRACT: Managers and researchers face the challenge of incorporating climate change into their work. The data to inform management decisions are available but often are difficult to locate and understand for individuals without training in climate science. This difficulty is compounded by the availability of numerous techniques in the absence of a standardized method to incorporate climate projections into ecological studies. We combined weather data and climate projections to assess Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC) population persistence across their range and to provide insight on our successes and failures incorporating climate projections. The LEPC range is subdivided into four ecoregions on the basis of vegetative composition of the area, and each region also varies environmentally due to latitudinal temperature and longitudinal precipitation gradients. Variable habitat, combined with the species’ sensitivity to drought, stresses the importance of understanding potential impacts of climate change on long-term population trends and subsequent management strategies. We used an Integrated Population Model (IPM) for each ecoregion and incorporated historical weather station data (1995–2016) and data from radio-tagged LEPCs to assess how weather affected hen survival, nest survival, and chicks fledged per hen. Weather station data were merged with climate projection data from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project-Phase 5 (CMIP-5). For each projection, we assumed stationarity. We defined stationarity as the values from the climate projection for the grid cell containing the location of the weather station are the future equivalent of the historic weather station data at the same location. The IPM identified past relationships between weather and survival and applied the relationships to future climate projections to assess long-term population trends for LEPCs, showing declining populations in three ecoregions. Weather and climate projection data provide valuable insight for managers and researchers, but consistent techniques to efficiently deal with the data would facilitate repeatability within and among species.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom D

Attendees (9)