Climate change in the Mission-Aransas Reserve : Evaluating vulnerability of coastal ecosystem and communities using long-term data sets and development of relevant adaptation strategies. Phase 1 : Technical Report.




Xue, Jianhong
Stanzel, Kiersten
Palmer, Sally (Marine scientist)
Buskey, Edward Joseph, 1952-

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This report assesses the long-term impacts of climate changes, such as temperature and precipitation, on the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve fisheries and bird species, in the past several decades. Increasing annual water temperatures and declining annual precipitation were observed in the Reserve since 1978. More than 30 years of fisheries-independent data from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department were analyzed, along with bird count data that has been collected since 1949 as part of the National Audubon Society ‘Christmas Bird Count’. Six out of the 61 fish species, and nineteen out of more than 180 bird species were identified as being more impacted by either winter freezes (fish = average minimum temperature of coldest week; bird = coldest temperature Dec 14 – Jan 5) or precipitation (fish = summer drought; birds = second half of the year precipitation for birds) on their abundances (both fish and bird) or average length (only fish) than other species in this region. This report strengthens our understanding of climate variables and their potential impact on the ecology the Mission- Aransas Estuary, and it also helps to identify climate change vulnerability assessment targets for adaptation planning.