NOAA’s Protected Species Climate Vulnerability Assessment (PSCVA)

Matthew Lettrich (1), Roger Griffis (2)

1 ECS Federal, Inc. in Support of NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, matthew.lettrich@noaa.gov

2 NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, roger.b.griffis@noaa.gov

Climate change is expected to influence the distribution and viability of many species in marine and coastal ecosystems.  These changes have significant implications for conservation of protected species – those already at high risk due to a variety of stressors.  NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is developing a methodology for assessing the vulnerability of marine protected species to provide decision-makers with information on what species may be most vulnerable and why, to help guide science and management actions.   The Protected Species Climate Vulnerability Assessment (PSCVA) methodology is currently under-development. The methodology focuses on marine mammals and sea turtles, two groups that are relatively under-represented in the climate vulnerability arena.  This presentation describes the development process and draft methodology. We began development by assessing decision-makers’ information needs related to climate vulnerability.  There was high demand for information on vulnerability to changes in distribution, abundance, and phenology.  We then drafted an initial framework based on several existing climate change vulnerability assessments for marine species.  The draft framework uses empirical data and expert judgement to assess exposure to climate change and sensitivity to climate-driven shifts in distribution, abundance, and phenology of the target taxa.  The methodology combines exposure and sensitivity scores to produce relative vulnerability scores for each species, provides information on what attributes contribute most significantly to the species vulnerability, and identifies key information gaps.  Assessments will be run for marine mammals and sea turtles separately.  The draft PSCVA framework will undergo pilot testing prior to completion in 2016.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.


Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2015 - 2016 Conference Design Pty Ltd