Forecasting bull trout suitable habitat in a changing world

Event Type: 
Other Webinar
Date and Time: 
Nov 26, 2013 (All day)

Time: 11am-12pm Mountain / 10-11am Pacific

Hosts: This webinar is brought to you by the Northwest Climate Science Center and the Pacific Region, US Fish and Wildlife Service. We thank other organizations for project support and/or distribution of event information including: USGS, US Forest Service, Great Northern LCC, the North Pacific LCC and C3.

Presenters: Seth Wenger, Trout Unlimited / Rocky Mountain Research Station, US Forest Service; Dan Isaak, USFS Boise Aquatic Research Lab, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Jason Dunham, USGS, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Description: Seth Wenger will highlight an analytic approach that makes it possible to calculate a full distribution of possible outcomes for a species, and permits ready graphical display of uncertainty for individual locations and of total habitat. The work is based on a recent journal publication titled, “Probabilistic accounting of uncertainty in forecasts of species distributions under climate change,” and a bull trout suitable habitat analysis is used to illustrate methods. Dan Isaak and Jason Dunham will discuss the implications of this work on bull trout populations and conservation needs and considerations to take into account. For example, offsetting management actions can alleviate some climate stressors, as can thermal/stream temperature niches.

Publication abstract: Forecasts of species distributions under future climates are inherently uncertain, but there have been few attempts to describe this uncertainty comprehensively in a probabilistic manner. Here, the research team developed a Monte Carlo approach that accounts for uncertainty within generalized linear regression models (parameter uncertainty and residual error), uncertainty among competing models (model uncertainty), and uncertainty in future climate conditions (climate uncertainty) to produce site-specific frequency distributions of occurrence probabilities across a species' range.

The method is illustrated by forecasting suitable habitat for bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in the Interior Columbia River Basin, USA, under recent and projected 2040s and 2080s climate conditions. The 95% interval of total suitable habitat under recent conditions was estimated at 30.1–42.5 thousand km; and this is predicted to decline to 0.5–7.9 thousand km by the 2080s. Projections for the 2080s showed that the great majority of stream segments would be unsuitable with high certainty, regardless of the climate data set or bull trout model employed. The largest contributor to uncertainty in total suitable habitat was climate uncertainty, followed by parameter uncertainty and model uncertainty.

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Publication ciitation: Wenger, S. J., Som, N. A., Dauwalter, D. C., Isaak, D. J., Neville, H. M., Luce, C. H., Dunham, J. B., Young, M. K., Fausch, K. D. and Rieman, B. E. (2013), Probabilistic accounting of uncertainty in forecasts of species distributions under climate change. Global Change Biology, 19: 3343–3354. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12294