Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Pennsylvania
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Pennsylvania Project

Putting the sampling design to work: enhancing monitoring programs for improved management and inference of ecological responses to changes in climate.

January 2022 - December 2025


Participating Agencies

  • NE Climate Adaptation Science Center

Studying the impacts of climate on important ecological responses is a priority of monitoring programs throughout the Northeast. Established sampling protocols for data collection, whether to inform estimates of abundance or occupancy, were designed to evaluate the effects of non-climate stressors and related management actions. Traditional modeling approaches, such as generalized linear models, may not accurately identify important relationships between species and climate nor elicit useful information on how these species will be impacted by a changing climate. This project is a collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the National Park Service. The goal of this work is to develop statistical methods to enhance and/or modify existing monitoring programs' abilities to understand climate effects on fish and wildlife populations. Specifically, given existing monitoring programs, our objectives are to (1) develop statistical models that quantify and account for the impacts of the sampling design in understanding the relationship between climate and species abundance or occupancy, and (2) develop an optimal supplemental sampling design that factors in spatial and temporal effects, precision, and cost tradeoffs to enhance the monitoring program’s ability to track climate change and provide early indicators for fish and wildlife responses.