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NCASC Science Team

The National CASC science team researches the effects of climate change on fish, wildlife, ecosystems, and people at regional, national, and global scales. They also serve as experts in international assessments on conservation and climate change. This work provides management and conservation partners with science to manage resources in the face of ongoing and future changes in climate.

Climate Adaptation: Science that Matters

Image of mountains in Crested Butte, Colorado, with trees and grass in foreground

Independently and in collaboration with regional CASCs, the National CASC (NCASC) synthesizes existing knowledge and conducts original research to examine climate change impacts and adaptation at regional, national, and global scales. Collaborators include, but are not limited to, natural and cultural resource managers, non-governmental organizations, and university researchers. This broad range of partnerships allows the team to produce actionable science that addresses real-world needs and answer pressing questions using the best available expertise and evidence. To strengthen this collaborative approach, NCASC scientists emphasize science communication and stakeholder engagement in their work. 

To fulfill the broader CASC mission, the National CASC: 

  • Produces research on climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation of fish, wildlife, ecosystems, and ecosystem services and on the interaction between climate change and other human-driven ecosystem stressors; 
  • Develops tools to support decision making for climate adaptation; 
  • Contributes to national- and international-scale assessments of climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, ecosystems, and ecosystem services. 


International Leader in Climate Adaptation 

Image: Sandstone Panorama in the Valley of Fire

NCASC scientists also represent the CASCs and the USGS within the international science community, where they serve as experts in large-scale assessments and advise negotiations on conservation and climate. Much of this work involves collaboration with the U.S. Department of State. NCASC scientists contribute to biodiversity and other thematic assessments (e.g., sustainable use, nexus approaches), provide technical assistance (e.g., trainings, expert reviews), and ensure that regional CASC research is incorporated into relevant international initiatives. 

NCASC science team members are currently serving as science contributors and/or authors within: 


Uncovering Climate Change Impacts to Species and Ecosystems 

Panoramic of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

NCASC scientists explore how climate change affects plants, animals, and ecosystems at local, national, regional, and international scales, including looking at the intersection between climate change and human land use change.    

Specific topics of emphasis include: 

  • Drought and Water Supply: NCASC scientists research drought-related threats across the country, helping stakeholders respond to changes in water availability, identify vulnerable ecosystems, and enhance post-drought recovery efforts. 
  • Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Climate: Nature provides many contributions to humans and society. The NCASC supports initiatives to better describe ecosystem services and to communicate their importance in the context of climate change. 
  • Adaptive Capacity: Some species can adapt to climate change. NCASC investigates these adaptive capacities to make better predictions about how different species will respond to climate change. 
  • Ecosystem Transformation: The NCASC explores the role of climate change in ecosystem transformation, conducting and synthesizing evidence on where transformations are likely to occur and what their consequences will be. 


Adaptation Planning Tools 

Lake Powell panorama, with rocks in the distance

NCASC scientists help natural resource managers understand how climate change is affecting their resources. They also provide decision-support tools and frameworks to help managers understand, evaluate, and implement potential management options. 

Specific tools and frameworks include: 

  • Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) Framework: NCASC scientists and partners developed a climate adaptation framework that helps resource managers make informed strategies for responding to ecological changes resulting from climate change. 
  • Fish and Climate Change (FiCli) Database: NCASC scientists collate a comprehensive, publicly-available database of peer-reviewed literature on climate change impacts to inland fish across the globe. 
  • U.S. Inland Creel and Angler Survey Catalog (CreelCat): NCASC scientists are developing and maintaining a national database of angler-survey data to aid the conservation and management of recreational fisheries in a changing world.