Supporting Adaptation to Climate Change

Researchers in boat.

The Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC) at UMass Amherst is part of a network of nine Climate Adaptation Science Centers managed by the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Adaptation Science Center.

"The aim is essentially trying to help ecosystems, natural resources, cultural resources to adapt to the huge challenge of climate change that's coming," explained Bethany Bradley, co-director of UMass Amherst's NE CASC and professor of environmental conservation. This includes gathering scientific information and building tools needed to help fish, wildlife, and ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Bradley leads the Northeast Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change Management (RISCC) Network, which is focused on working to "give natural resource managers the information that they need to know about how invasive species and climate change are interacting." In part, this means predicting which plant species will emerge in the northeast over the coming decades in order to proactively evaluate and regulate potential problems. 

The work of NE CASC "has a direct influence on everyone on the planet," said Richard Palmer, NE CASC founding university director and professor of civil and environmental engineering. "Essentially, the climate science centers are attempting to help us manage through the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years."

In addition, through NE CASC, students are able to engage directly with climate-related issues in the region.

"Our students are now starting to move into positions of importance in agencies across the northeast," said Palmer. "They're going to have a really big impact on the way things are managed in the future, and they will always bring this recognition of climate change and how to manage it with them."

Evelyn Beaury is a PhD candidate in organismic and evolutionary biology and a NE CASC fellow. "I came to UMass to study plant invasions and climate change because it felt like it was really important. The CASC is an avenue for me to learn how to get stakeholders to be part of that process and to really make sure that my research is going to be deliverable to an audience that can use it."