Resource managers are under increasing pressure to prioritize conservation efforts by assessing climate risk for numerous species. Amphibians, fish, and reptiles are particularly vulnerable to habitat alteration and climate change, yet many species fly under the conservation radar due to lack of basic information.
Dede Olson, a research ecologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, has forged science partnerships among researchers from diverse disciplines that are yielding rapid advances in species threat assessments.
Olson and three U.S. Geological Survey scientists developed an index to rapidly assess the vulnerability of freshwater fish, reptiles, and amphibians native to Oregon based on rarity and sensitivity to climate change. The index can be used to assess inherent climate sensitivity across entire taxonomic groups using existing data.
Olson also worked with geneticists from Washington State University and the University of Michigan to evaluate how landscape variables affect population connectivity for two salamanders found in Northwest forests. The partnership created a new avenue to address dispersal habitat associations for torrent salamanders, highlighting conservation needs that span the salamanders’ life cycle.
Together, these studies illustrate how combining basic- and applied-science perspectives in partnered research is providing new insights for management of at-risk species.
Kantor, Sylvia; Olson, Dede. 2020. Working together: How science partnerships can help prioritize rare species for conservation. Science Findings 223. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.