201 Stephenson Parkway, Suite 2100 Norman, OK 73019

Species & Ecosystems

Toward Mapping & Predicting Changes in Species Distributions & Ecosystems

Environmental changes have impacted the iconic species of our region. However, many historical datasets are difficult to access, limiting our ability to target successful management practices. Though bioclimatic envelope models can suggest changes in species distribution, non-linearities in habitat structure, phenology, etc. can affect the extent to which species actually inhabit desirable areas. Thus, managers make many decisions without adequate information regarding future scenarios.

Our Team

Established in October 2018, the Mapping and Predicting Changes in Species Distributions and Ecosystems team has 15 members:

Todd Fagin (co-lead), University of Oklahoma

Virginia Seamster, NM Dept. of Game and Fish

Kerry Griffis-Kyle, Texas Tech University

John Zak, Texas Tech University

Nick Smith, Texas Tech University

Jim Ansley (co-lead), Oklahoma State University

Rachel Fovargue, University of Oklahoma

Bruce Hoagland, University of Oklahoma

Victor Rivera-Monroy, Louisiana State University

Lizz Waring, Texas Tech University

Jim Winterle, Edwards Aquifer

Natasja van Gestel, Texas Tech University

Jennifer Bryant, Chickasaw Nation

Heather McCarthy, University of Oklahoma

Our Projects

Goals for 2020:

  • Concept Paper to address the changes in key ecosystem/species distributions in the South-Central region under climate variability.
    • Summary: Although ecosystem responses to climate change and variability is still unknown due to the lack of long-term data to assess resistance and resilience properties, it is becoming urgent to elucidate how key ecosystem services will be sustainable in the Anthropocene. In this paper, we will evaluate the past, current, and future changes of key ecosystems by focusing on their foundation species along a gradient of elevation, hydrological properties, and climate in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. This analysis will contribute to the development of management strategies that consider the potential conflict in sustaining economic versus ecological value of foundation species as indicators of stable states and ecosystem health.
  • Project on understanding the context of emerging ecosystems in urban environments.
    • Potential locations of study: Lubbock, TX; Norman, OK; Las Cruces, NM.
  • Project to target state-level vulnerable species and habitats and how they can adapt to climate variability.
    • Identify habitats and species vulnerable to climate variability across the south central region.
    • Identify desired conservation outcomes.
    • Identify actions to achieve desired outcomes in the context of climate variability.
  • Education and Outreach through the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
    • Develop rangeland restoration work plan and deploy environmental monitoring instruments, and establish baseline conditions.

How we plan to accomplish our goals:

  • Bi-monthly virtual meetings
  • In-person meetings every four months
  • Collaborative virtual folder for project materials
  • Seek out funding opportunities