Submitted to UCOP November 30, 2015
Organization: Since getting funds transferred from UCOP in March, 2015 we have set-up and met with the Executive Board (representatives from all 9 campuses, and the NRS); established 9 Working Groups (7 scientific, plus public outreach, and land use issues in/around reserves); reached out to UC faculty, with ~ 110 across all campuses asking for some affiliation with ISEECI; and held a workshop in late September to articulate ISEECI goals and priorities (40+ attendees). The workshop was particularly useful in focusing ISEECI’s efforts on two major research areas, identifying coherent research programs as the basis of funding searches in the next 3 years:
California Environmental and Ecological History:
- Reserves: Biotic and Land Use Histories
- Climate Reconstructions from Tree Rings to Trout Otoliths
- Genetic Change Over Space and Time
- Link Museum Collections to Current Research
Assessing Ecosystem-wide Adaptation to Future Climate Scenarios
- Future Viability of Species
- Locate and study sites that now have climates predicted for reserves in 30-50 years, to understand and prepare for the magnitude of expected biotic changes in coming decades
- Integrate all NRS Environmental Sensor Data with Climate Models
- Assessing ecosystem-level effects of climate
Funded: NSF Field Station and Marine Lab award “Collaborative Proposal: Ecophysiological Instruments for Measuring Biotic Climate Impacts Across Western Field Stations” ($444,961 total, $99,161 to UCSC) in partnership with Northern Arizona University. Sites include 12 UCNRS sites and 8 Southwestern Experimental Garden Array Sites, with common instrumentation creating a large network generating integrated measurements of ecophysiology of plants and vertebrates at microclimate scales needed for detailed research. Researchers will begin installing instrumentation in January 2016 and finish by Fall 2016.
- NSF REU proposal (UCSC) to integrate undergraduates into the research on climate issues on and around the reserve system. If funded, we will begin development another grant aimed at UC system-wide REU and RET program, where students and K-12 teachers will be sited at NRS sites to conduct ISEECI related research on the biological impacts of climate change.
- NSF Coastal SEES proposal ($2M; UCM, UCB, UCLA, Carnegie Institute, Stanford University), to study coastal fog-mediated interactions between climate change, upwelling, and coast redwood resilience, projecting vulnerabilities and the human response.
In Preparation (submitted w/in 3 months):
- A second NSF FSML grant to create the NRS Environmental Sensor Network, completing the Climate Weather Network, deploying ecophysiological sensors and creating an integrated PhenoCam Network to monitor changes in timing of important life cycle stages of plants (e.g., leaf burst, flowering) from permanent locations.
- NSF Research Coordination Networking (RCN) Grant is under development to network the NRS, ISEECI, and the currently unconnected 29 CSU reserves and preserves and create a globally unprecedented network of university-run protected areas, allowing California and UCSC to lead the way in how lands/oceans can be managed for research, teaching and outreach.
- Keck proposal (from the Ecosystems Working Group) for computing carbon storage and flux in terrestrial ecosystems to provide key information on how climate will impact fluxes in the future, and to better serve the State of California in developing Carbon Trading programs specified under Assembly Bill 32 ($2,228,1000).
Other Collaborations: ISEECI and DroughtNet Activities, UCSC, UCR, UCD, UCSD
ISEECI is linking with the DroughtNet International Drought Experiment, adding new sites within the NRS –Younger Lagoon (UCSC), Box Springs, Boyd Deep Canyon, McLaughlin, and UCSD Reserves – joining 88 other sites worldwide (drought-net.org) measuring effects of soil water on species composition and productivity. Funding for the UC Catalyst will be used to instrument NRS sites.
- Ecosystems: Tim Hilton, working with Elliot Campbell (UCM) and Michael Loik (UCSC) on the terrestrial biological carbon cycle at regional scales using a combination of atmospheric composition observations, ecosystem – carbon flux observations, atmospheric and ecosystem models, and data assimilation methods.
- History, Population Ecology/Evolution, Community Ecology: selection committees have identified top 3 candidates for the Population and Community Ecology postdoctoral fellow applications. The History committee met in November and they have selected one from each group with an eye towards meshing their research to meet larger ISEECI goals. We expect selection to be finalized by the end of November.
Graduate Students: ISEECI has supported 17 graduate students in 2015. Each campus has autonomy in how the funds are distributed, and while recommended allocation is two summer stipends and one academic year quarter, this resulted in some differences between the campuses in the number of students supported. Selected examples:
- UCM: Morgan Barnes (mentors Steve Hart, Asmeret Berhe) “Climatic controls on the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus in the critical zone“.
- UCB: Kelly Easterday (mentor Maggi Kelly) “Reconstructing and resurveying landscape history”.
- UCD: Allie Weill “Fire and functional traits: how do fire-adaptive traits relate to historical, recent, and future fire regimes in post-fire reseeding Ceanothus species?”; Robin Decker “How does the oak range shift over fragmented landscapes in response to changes in climate?”
- UCI: Nameer Baker (mentor Steve Allison) “Microbial responses to climate change along the southern California climate gradient”; Scot Parker (mentor: Mike Goulden) “Response and recovery of southern California’s coastal sage scrub communities following climate manipulations, prolonged drought and nitrogen deposition”.
- UCLA: Katja Grossmann (mentor Ulli Seibt) “Ground-based remote sensing of Solar-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence (SIF) at Stunt Ranch UC Reserve”; Wendy Burton Clark (mentor Ulli Seibt) “Continuous monitoring of plant carbon and water fluxes at Stunt Ranch UC Reserve”
- UCR: Courtney Collins, “Community and ecosystem consequences of woody plant encroachment in California”; Parsa Saffarinia “How will an altered precipitation cycle impact food web dynamics in Sierra Nevada Rivers?”; and Teresa Bohner, “Demographic responses of trees to climate variability”.
- UCSB: Ian McCullough’s “Geographic variation in growth responses of ponderosa pine to recent climate change in California”, Andy MacDonald’s “Influence of latitudinal and climatic variation on Lyme infection prevalence in California”, and Devyn Orr’s “Interactions among changing climates and wildlife communities: implications for tick-borne disease”. Andy and Devyn will collaborate on later stages of their projects, allowing a broader approach.
- UCSD: Noah Ben-Aderet (SIO) “What is the evolutionary potential for native plant species to shift phenology with climatic change”); José Waterton, “Are warming waters responsible for yellowtail population declines?”).
- UCSC: Dena Spatz, “Developing a protocol for repeated monitoring small mammals for students in the NRS Field Studies Program”; Travis Apgar; “Impacts of climate change on California’s freshwater ecosystems: Exploring effects of drought within the UCNRS and beyond”; Sarah Skikne; “Repeat photography for analysis of plant species range shifts at Boyd Deep Canyon since the 1970s”.
Administration: The Executive Board voted unanimously to convert 1.5 postdoc lines to a Research Director, Dr. Becca Fenwick, for year 1-2 projects (August 2015-July 2016). The NRS has allocated 4 years of funding ($27,000) for Dr. Fenwick to be the liaison between the NRS managers, researchers and the UCOP NRS office. The Research Director coordinates collaborations, meetings, grant proposals, communications, web design and administrative paperwork for purchasing, GSR and postdoc hiring, and is responsible for assembling NRS historic data resources, current research data and anticipating future data needs for ISEECI researchers and making them available online to the wider research community. This position is critical to ISEECI’s success. We have two strategies to fully fund this by a) requesting $10K support for each year, from each of the 9 campuses, and b) adding support for the position in each proposal submitted by ISEECI collaborations. We have secured commitment from Dean Paul Koch, Physical and Biological Sciences, UCSC and have drafted letters to Deans and VCRs at other UC campuses.
Outreach: ISEECI has been engaging with local papers and news outlets. We have also presented posters at UCOP and several of the campuses in conjunction with the NRS 50th celebrations.