Recently, UC Davis researchers developed a method to incorporate the University of California (UC) Natural Reserve System (NRS) to better improve the prediction of weather forecast and ecological impacts of climate change in California.
The researchers collaborated with colleagues from other UC campuses to utilize the UC Natural Reserve System to make a significant impact on climate change research. Researchers worked to establish a UC-wide Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts.
The implementation of this institute has recently received $1.9 million in funding, as announced by UC President Janet Napolitano. The funding was provided through the President’s Research Catalyst Awards, a funding source that will provide $10 million to research fields of great significance in over three years.
“The President’s Research Catalyst Awards will spur UC research and offer our faculty and students new opportunities for cross-campus, multidisciplinary collaboration,” Napolitano said in an article appearing on UC Davis News and Information site. “We want to support research endeavors that have real-world impact in areas with critical needs.”
The UC Natural Reserve System is a network of 39 protected areas within the state of California and is the largest university-administered reserve system in the world. It includes various ecosystems spanning from coastal tide pools to the inland deserts. This wide variety of protected areas and ecosystems allows researchers to better obtain information regarding climate change.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the UC Davis reserves and for the reserve system as a whole,” said UC Davis Natural Reserve System associate director Virginia Boucher to UC Davis News and Information. “As a result of long-term collaborations between the UC Davis reserves and campus engineers and computer scientists, our reserves provide prototypes for a variety of sensor networks.”
The UC Davis faculty included in the project’s team are Marissa Baskett, an environmental science and policy associate professor and Mark Schwartz, the John Muir Institute of the Environment director. Berry Sinervo, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, is the head of the UC campus project.
“We are going to be creating a large network of UC climate researchers and using the NRS system as a climate change observatory for biotic systems,” Sinervo said in the same article.
This project is unique in the sense that it allows researchers to collect data and conduct studies regarding climate change that can be easily compared to other studies that have been completed about the pressing concern of climate change. Throughout the project, researchers will predict future changes to ecosystems and potential impacts on ecosystem services that might threaten the capacity of Californians to adapt to a changing climate by creating various models based on collected data.
The institute additionally offers a variety of research locations for UC students and faculty to conduct long-term research with resources that are often unavailable at other reserves or national parks.