Three CEES Projects Funded from RCN NORKLIMA program

1/3 of Approved NORKLIMA applications awarded to CEES Projects

Photo: RCN.

The Research Council of Norway has announced 48 million kroner in funding for 9 projects on climate research on ecosystems. Of those, three CEES projects will be funded.

Nils Chr. Stenseth, with Kyrre Kausrud, Atle Mysterud,  Janet Blatny (FFI), Karin Nygard (NIPH), and Wendy Turner will lead a project exploring how climate change will impact the ecology of diseases that have natural reservoirs in wildlife or the environment. They will work with Ryan Easterday, Boris Schmid, Thomas Haverkamp, Yngvild Vindenes, Jianfeng Feng, Torbjørn Ergon, and a large group of national and international collaborators. Their work will focus on the model systems of Lyme disease, anthrax and tularemia.

Yngvild Vindenes will head the second successfully funded project. She will work with Nils Chr. Stenseth, Asbjørn Vøllestad, Jan Ohlberger, Øystein Langangen, Andries Richter, Thrond Haugen (UMB), and several international partners. They will use integral projection modeling to understand the responses of two top freshwater predators, brown trout and pike, to climate change. The team will look at responses based on varying both management strategies and additional stressors outside of climate change.

Finnally Dag O. Hessen will lead a project looking at the effects of climate change on boreal lake ecosystems. He will work with Tom Andersen and Frode Stordal from UiO, as well as Kari Austnes, Heleen de Wit, Camilla Hagmann, Markus Lindholm, and Richard Wright from NIVA. There will be international participation in the project from partners in Sweden, Finland, and Canada. They will utilize both existing databases and field experiments to model carbon flux and ecosystem effects of climate change on boreal lakes.

Project Summaries

Climate Changes and Zoonotic Epidemiology in Wildlife Systems (ZEWS)

Project leader: Nils Chr. Stenseth

Among the most serious effects of climate change is its capacity to drastically alter the ecology of diseases that are vectors-borne, have wildlife and/or
environmental reservoirs (WVE diseases). Theory and observation suggest that disease outbreaks can result from gradual changes in transmission, susceptibility, host or vector density, resulting in tipping points where epidemiological characteristics suddenly change. The understanding required to plan and implement mitigation strategies for WVE diseases requires broad interdisciplinary collaborations to provide:

  • Integration and overview of research on WVE diseases likely to respond to climate change.
  • New data where critical information is found to be missing.
  • Improved risk models taking different scenarios into account.

To make the most of limited resources, we use three systems that are important in their own right while being complementary as model systems: Lyme disease, anthrax and tularemia. They are chosen for being; (a) currently or potentially important in Scandinavia, (b) likely to respond strongly to climate change, and (c) giving complementary perspectives on how WVE diseases responds climate change.

The project is led by CEES and performed in collaboration with prominent members of the international medical, biosecurity, veterinary medicine, climatological and public health communities. The project will also be linked to the IGBP through the Global Environmental Change and Human Health.

The project will be led by highly experienced scientists, but will recruit and train young scientists in research and project leadership.

Applying a new demographic framework to understand and project consequences of climate change in size- and age-structured populations

Project leader: Yngvild Vindenes

In this project we will take a new and innovative approach to study ecosystem responses to climate change, by extending the newly introduced demographic framework of integral projection modeling (IPM) to include key drivers of climate change (especially temperature changes), and applying it with unique long-term individual-based data from two freshwater fish species, brown trout (Norway) and pike (UK).

As top predators, the responses of these species to climate change may have large consequences for the ecosystems. IPM provides a very powerful approach as it can incorporate population structure from a mixture of discrete and continuous state variables, such as age and body size. The vital rates of individuals (e.g. survival probability, fecundity, somatic growth rate) are estimated as a function of the state variables and climate variables using regression techniques. Size structure is rarely considered in relation to climate change, but it is most likely important because many organisms have highly size-dependent vital rates. Here, we will study consequences of climate change in combination with harvesting, eutrophication, and stocking, as well as threshold effects of extreme events.

We will also consider opportunities for adaptive management based on the new approach. This project brings together recently developed theory and existing data in a synergistic fashion that will help answer some of the unresolved questions of climate change research. Analyzing these questions in the context of size-structured populations is at the frontier of ecological research, and acknowledges the need for management to be size-specific. The results of the project will provide valuable knowledge for management of size-structured organisms also beyond aquatic ecosystems.

Effects of climate change on boreal lake ecosystems: Productivity and community responses

Project leader: Dag O. Hessen

Climate change is expected to affect lake ecosystems in many ways. In boreal systems, changes in dissolved organic matter and nutrients will affect light levels, thermal regimes, productivity and community structure. This project will address these responses by use of existing databases, refinement and integration of existing models and by experiments and field studies.

The multidisciplinary project group will build on the extensive databases on lakes and boreal catchments in Norway, Sweden and Finland combined with predictive steady-state (space-for-time) models that have recently been developed and tested for Norwegian catchments as well as existing, dynamic, process-oriented models. The goal is to establish causal links between the drivers climate change and N+S deposition and catchment properties on export fluxes of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and the key nutrient elements nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P).

Projections will be made driven by various scenarios of future climate change and N+S deposition. The work will build on statistical tools, GIS-information and climate-related statistical modelling both at the catchment and lake level. These tools will be used to estimate lake ecosystem responses. The focus will be on:

  1. Effects on primary production due to changed loads of DOC (determining light climate), changed inputs of nutrients and changed N-deposition.
  2. Effects on net ecosystem heterotrophy (and thus CO2 export) related to the same changes.
  3. Effects on nutrient limitation (N vs. P) related to changed loads of nutrients and changed N-deposition.
  4. Effects on phytoplankton cell size related to changed temperature and nutrients.
  5. Community effects focusing on selected species susceptible to DOC and temperature.
Published Dec. 18, 2012 4:06 PM - Last modified Oct. 14, 2016 9:56 AM