Steep watersheds with dramatic environmental gradients are common features of both the Pacific Islands and Southeast Alaska. Climate change is contributing to significant alterations of key processes in both the Ridge-to-Reef of the Pacific Islands and Icefield-to-Ocean watersheds of Alaska, with impacts cascading through terrestrial, freshwater, and nearshore marine ecosystems via the movement of water, energy, biota, and nutrients. Human communities in both regions depend on the cultural and ecosystem services provided by these watersheds.
Despite the profound importance of these Ridge-to-Reef and Icefield-to-Ocean systems, sparse monitoring networks, difficult study environments, and inconsistent efforts to incorporate local, cultural perspectives and knowledge into the research process have resulted in severe limitations in our understanding of how these watersheds function and respond to climate and other stressors. In turn, this lack of knowledge presents significant barriers to climate adaptation and management efforts.
This US Geological Survey (USGS) webinar will highlight how Alaska and Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASC) scientists are responding to these challenges through cross-regional research, cultural engagement, and synthesis. Moreover, we will show how partners in this “Pacific Islands-Alaska Collaboration” are developing a variety of forums for scientists, managers, and students to jointly explore these systems and exchange knowledge as a means to support community-based climate adaptation.