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Stephanie Romañach, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Ecology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2003
M.A., Ecology, University of California, Santa Barbara
B.S., Zoology, University of Florida, 1998
Stephanie uses a combination of field observations and predictive ecological models to explore the impacts of climate change and ecosystem restoration on wildlife.
Before joining USGS, Stephanie 's research focused on getting science used in natural resource decision making through projects such as endangered African wild dog conservation and ecology, bushmeat trade and rural livelihoods, the role of trophy hunting in wildlife conservation, and large carnivore population ecology.
Science and Products
The Sparrow Helper tool allows for the evaluation of water management scenarios by generating, plotting, and mapping hydrologic metrics across a range of time scales to predict impacts of proposed water depth changes to sparrow subpopulations.
WADEM (Wader Distribution Evaluation Modeling) is a JEM model that estimates species-specific habitat suitability across the landscape for Great Egret (Ardea alba), White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), and Wood Stork (Mycteria americana).
Marl prairie is the most diverse freshwater vegetation community in the Greater Everglades and provides the only suitable habitat for the federally endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (CSSS; Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis).
EverSnail, developed in collaboration with the University of West Florida, is an age- and size-structured spatially-explicit landscape model of native apple snails (Pomacea paludosa).
Because the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a keystone species of the Everglades ecosystem, managers need a way to quantitatively assess the effects of alternative restoration scenarios on alligators.
The U.S. Agency for International Development‘s regional mission in East Africa (USAID/EA) and contributing USAID bilateral missions in the region have partnered with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s International Technical Assistance Program (DOI-ITAP) to strategically leverage DOI expertise as it pertains to wildlife poaching and wildlife trafficking.
The interior marshes of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge (TTINWR) are currently negatively impacted by sea level rise through saltwater intrusion from the south which furthers mangrove encroachment into the freshwater marsh.
The Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP) is in the process of restoring pre-drainage hydrology to the southwest portion of the Greater Everglades ecosystem.
The decline of mammal populations in Everglades National Park (ENP) over the last 20 years is likely to influence the ecology of the Everglades system and the likelihood of successful Everglades restoration.
Wildlife Indicators of Greater Everglades Restoration Progress, Climate Change, and Shifts in Ecosystem Service
As Greater Everglades restoration project implementation progresses, wetlands in near coastal areas may undergo changes in salinity, hydroperiod, and water depth.
Ecological models are needed to facilitate evaluation and assessment of alternative approaches to restore Greater Everglades ecosystems. However, the provision of useful and accessible models is a challenge because there is often a disconnect between model developers and model users. Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) was established to meet this challenge, with the goal of getting ecological...
Peninsular Florida has a high density of species and ecosystems of conservation concern, as well as many threats to the persistence of native species and their habitats. USGS worked closely with the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative to define conservation targets to help meet conservation goals.
The JEM community of practice is focused on ecological modeling and monitoring across the Greater Everglades, with particular interest in habitats, how various factors affect habitat change, and how the organisms dependent on those habitats respond today and into the future.
Working with the Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) community of practice, the WARC Advanced Applications Team developed and maintains the EverVIEW Data Viewer desktop visualization platform, which allows users to easily visualize and inspect standards-compliant NetCDF modeling data and has experienced tremendous feature growth driven by user feedback.
Designing a protected area to safeguard imperiled species from urbanization
Reserve design is a process that can address ecological, social, and political factors to identify parcels of land needed to sustain wildlife populations and other natural resources. Acquisition of parcels for a large terrestrial reserve is difficult because it typically occurs over a long timeframe and thus invokes consideration of future...Romañach, Stephanie; Stith, Bradley; Johnson, Fred A.
Conservation and restoration of mangroves: Global status, perspectives, and prognosis
Mangrove forests provide critical services around the globe to both human populations and the ecosystems they occupy. However, losses of mangrove habitat of more than 50% have been recorded in some parts of the world, and these losses are largely attributable to human activities. The importance of mangroves and the threats to their persistence...Romañach, Stephanie; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Koh, Hock Lye; Li, Yuhong; Teh, Su Yean; Barizan, Raja Sulaiman Raja; Zhai, Lu
Making ecological models adequate
Critical evaluation of the adequacy of ecological models is urgently needed to enhance their utility in developing theory and enabling environmental managers and policymakers to make informed decisions. Poorly supported management can have detrimental, costly or irreversible impacts on the environment and society. Here, we examine common issues in...Getz, Wayne M.; Marshall, Charles R.; Carlson, Colin J.; Giuggioli, Luca; Ryan, Sadie J.; Romañach, Stephanie; Boettiger, Carl; Chamberlain, Samuel D.; Larsen, Laurel; D'Odorico, Paolo; O'Sullivan, David
A spatial approach to combatting wildlife crime
Poaching can have devastating impacts on animal and plant numbers, and in many countries has reached crisis levels, with illegal hunters employing increasingly sophisticated techniques. Here, we show how geographic profiling – a mathematical technique originally developed in criminology and recently applied to animal foraging and epidemiology –...Faulkner, Sally C.; Stevens, Michael C.A.; Romañach, Stephanie; Lindsey, Peter A.; LeComber, Steven C.
Structured decision making as a conservation tool for recovery planning of two endangered salamanders
At least one-third of all amphibian species face the threat of extinction, and current amphibian extinction rates are four orders of magnitude greater than background rates. Preventing extirpation often requires both ex situ (i.e., conservation breeding programs) and in situ strategies (i.e., protecting natural habitats). Flatwoods salamanders (...O'Donnell, Katherine; Messerman, Arianne F; Barichivich, William J.; Semlitsch, Raymond D.; Gorman, Thomas A.; Mitchell, Harold G; Allan, Nathan; Fenolio, Dante B.; Green, Adam; Johnson, Fred A.; Keever, Allison; Mandica, Mark; Martin, Julien; Mott, Jana; Peacock, Terry; Reinman, Joseph; Romañach, Stephanie; Titus, Greg; McGowan, Conor P.; Walls, Susan C.
Data for comparison of climate envelope models developed using expert-selected variables versus statistical selection
The data we used for this study include species occurrence data (n=15 species), climate data and predictions, an expert opinion questionnaire, and species masks that represented the model domain for each species. For this data release, we include the results of the expert opinion questionnaire and the species model domains (or masks). We developed...Brandt, Laura A.; Benscoter, Allison; Harvey, Rebecca G.; Speroterra, Carolina; Bucklin, David N.; Romanach, Stephanie; Watling, James I.; Mazzotti, Frank J.
Comparison of climate envelope models developed using expert-selected variables versus statistical selection
Climate envelope models are widely used to describe potential future distribution of species under different climate change scenarios. It is broadly recognized that there are both strengths and limitations to using climate envelope models and that outcomes are sensitive to initial assumptions, inputs, and modeling methods Selection of predictor...Brandt, Laura A.; Benscoter, Allison; Harvey, Rebecca G.; Speroterra, Carolina; Bucklin, David N.; Romañach, Stephanie; Watling, James I.; Mazzotti, Frank J.
Considerations for building climate-based species distribution models
Climate plays an important role in the distribution of species. A given species may adjust to new conditions in-place, move to new areas with suitable climates, or go extinct. Scientists and conservation practitioners use mathematical models to predict the effects of future climate change on wildlife and plan for a biodiverse future. This 8-page...Bucklin, David N.; Basille, Mathieu; Romañach, Stephanie; Brandt, Laura A.; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Watling, James I.
Using Cape Sable seaside sparrow distribution data for water management decision support
The Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis; hereafter sparrow) is endemic to south Florida and a key indicator species of marl prairie, the most diverse freshwater community in the Florida Everglades. Marl prairie habitat is shaped by intermediate levels of disturbances such as flooding, drying, and fire, which maintain...Beerens, James M.; Romañach, Stephanie
Evaluating water management scenarios to support habitat management for the Cape Sable seaside sparrow
The endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis) is endemic to south Florida and a key indicator species of marl prairie, a highly diverse freshwater community in the Florida Everglades. Maintenance and creation of suitable habitat is seen as the most important pathway to the persistence of the six existing sparrow...Beerens, James M.; Romañach, Stephanie S.; McKelvy, Mark
Value-focused framework for defining landscape-scale conservation targets
Conservation of natural resources can be challenging in a rapidly changing world and require collaborative efforts for success. Conservation planning is the process of deciding how to protect, conserve, and enhance or minimize loss of natural and cultural resources. Establishing conservation targets (also called indicators or endpoints), the...Romañach, Stephanie; Benscoter, Allison M.; Brandt, Laura A.
Climate changes, shifting ranges
Even a fleeting mention of the Everglades conjures colorful images of alligators, panthers, flamingos, and manatees. Over the centuries, this familiar cast of characters has become synonymous with life in south Florida. But the workings of a changing climate have the potential to significantly alter the menagerie of animals that call this area...Romañach, Stephanie