Multispecies Analysis of Climate Sensitivity in the Pacific Northwest

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Species rarity and life history traits are known within the field of conservation biology to be associated with extinction risk and may also be employed to inform their sensitivity or capacity to adapt to future climates. 

To address these aspects of risk, USGS and USFS developed a multispecies Rarity and Climate Sensitivity - RCS - index using publicly available data for Pacific Northwest freshwater fishes, amphibians, and reptiles. The index was calculated and used in conjunction with occurrence and life-history traits to determine risk for 114 species in the region. Results provide a ranking that highlights a host of potentially understudied species in the region that may be at risk. This work was led by Meryl Mims, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech University and former USGS Mendenhall Research Fellow. Mims continues her collaboration with USGS to expand multispecies assessments.


Mims, M.C., Olson, D.H., Pilliod, D.S., Dunham, J.B., 2018, Functional and geographic components of risk for climate sensitive vertebrates in the Pacific Northwest, USA: Biological Conservation, v. 228, p. 183-194,

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