Project Title

Interpreting Paleoclimate and Species Distributions of Red Spruce and Fraser Firs in the Southern Appalachians to Predict Impacts of Climate Change on Forest Habitats

Authors' Affiliations

Danika Mosher, Department of Geosciences, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN Andrew Joyner, Department of Geosciences, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Location

BAYS MTN. ROOM 125

Start Date

4-12-2019 1:40 PM

End Date

4-12-2019 1:55 PM

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Geosciences

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Andrew Joyner

Type

Oral Presentation

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Master’s

Project's Category

Environmental Conservation, Forestry, Global Change

Abstract Text

Spruce-Fir forests are relicts from the Pleistocene and have migrated back north after the previous warming period as well as up in elevation in the southern Appalachian mountains. This in turn created sky islands of isolated, endemic, and disjunct species. These refugal forests require certain climatic parameters similar to Canada’s boreal mountains but also need additional cloud immersion and precipitation. These forests have experienced stressors in the past, but face continued threats such as air pollution and climate change. Due to limited immigration for the majority of the species on these mountains, a significant number of organisms are at risk of being endangered or extinct. Analyzing the relationships and patterns between species distribution and climatic parameters both in the past and present will help create future prediction maps. These will potentially anticipate where habitat reduction might occur and will benefit management and conservation purposes. The first study will analyze current distributions of Spruce-Fir forests to see which model and variable combination best approximates the unique mountain forests environments. Using the optimal model from the first study, the second study will examine which distributional changes may occur in the future and how these changes compare to paleo-environmental distributions. Anticipated results will show a reduction of habitat in lower peaks with minimal impact at higher peaks based on the known projected trends of cloud ceilings. This research will help with forest and conservation management and will impact a multitude of species that rely on this forest to survive.

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Apr 12th, 1:40 PM Apr 12th, 1:55 PM

Interpreting Paleoclimate and Species Distributions of Red Spruce and Fraser Firs in the Southern Appalachians to Predict Impacts of Climate Change on Forest Habitats

BAYS MTN. ROOM 125

Spruce-Fir forests are relicts from the Pleistocene and have migrated back north after the previous warming period as well as up in elevation in the southern Appalachian mountains. This in turn created sky islands of isolated, endemic, and disjunct species. These refugal forests require certain climatic parameters similar to Canada’s boreal mountains but also need additional cloud immersion and precipitation. These forests have experienced stressors in the past, but face continued threats such as air pollution and climate change. Due to limited immigration for the majority of the species on these mountains, a significant number of organisms are at risk of being endangered or extinct. Analyzing the relationships and patterns between species distribution and climatic parameters both in the past and present will help create future prediction maps. These will potentially anticipate where habitat reduction might occur and will benefit management and conservation purposes. The first study will analyze current distributions of Spruce-Fir forests to see which model and variable combination best approximates the unique mountain forests environments. Using the optimal model from the first study, the second study will examine which distributional changes may occur in the future and how these changes compare to paleo-environmental distributions. Anticipated results will show a reduction of habitat in lower peaks with minimal impact at higher peaks based on the known projected trends of cloud ceilings. This research will help with forest and conservation management and will impact a multitude of species that rely on this forest to survive.