Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Differential effects of climate-mediated forest change on the habitats of two ungulates important to subsistence and sport hunting economies


July 2014 - June 2016


Climate change is a complex process that may affect the
food resources of different species of wildlife in contrasting ways. Moose and caribou are
important to both subsistence and sport hunting economies throughout Alaska, but their winter
diets are quite different; caribou focus on snow covered ground hugging lichens while moose
focus on the twigs of erect deciduous shrubs that protrude above the snow. This project will use
output from the Integrated Ecosystem Model to estimate the differential effects of climate
change on the quantity of food available to these two species throughout most of Alaska and
parts of Canada, ~1970-2100. The model integrates the expected effects of climate on lichen and
shrub production, wildfire and resulting plant community change, and the restrictions to food
availability caused by deep snow and ground icing as a result of rain-on-snow. The results will
be stratified by land ownership and landscape characteristics to provide maps of expected
changes in winter food for moose and caribou that will be tailored to and directly useable by
natural resource managers as they devise strategies for adapting to a changing climate.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 55

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 670

Scientific Publications: 1897

Presentations: 4193



Funding Agencies

  • Alaska Climate Science Center


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey