Skip to main content

Rutgers Climate Symposium 2022 Poster Session Index 

Poster Authors Title (Poster/Abstract) 
Lamia Abdallah (Rutgers) and Xenia Morin (Rutgers) Exploring Nature-based Solutions for Agrifood Systems for Climate Resilience and Food Security

The term “nature-based solutions” (NbS) is emerging as a research framework in higher education, governmental and NGO communities and refers to “a sustainable management approach of natural resources using natural features and processes in addressing social- ecological challenges.” NbS can be climate resilience strategies and is now being embraced in some agrifood systems. We performed a bibliometric analysis in the SCOPUS database and as of November 3, 2022 discovered that the term “nature-based solutions” appeared in the title, abstract or key terms in 2,244 publications between 2012 and 2022 with 518 (23%) containing agriculture and biological sciences subject matter, 1683 (75%) environmental science subject matter, and 770 (34%) social science subject matter. More than 66% of the publications appeared in 2021 and 2022. Some of the NbS publications with agriculture content overlapped with terms such as agroecological, regenerative agriculture and organic agrifood systems. NbS may provide additional transdisciplinary approaches and insights to build climate resiliency and food security in agrifood systems. However, we must also remain vigilant to address some concerns that NbS may be used for greenwashing. Some examples of NbS approaches to agrifood systems will be shared and discussed.

Michael C. Allen (Rutgers University), Julie L. Lockwood (Rutgers University), Orin J. Robinson (Cornell University) Integrating threatened species distribution and landownership information to inform coastal resiliency and conservation planning

Sea-level rise threatens both human communities and vulnerable coastal species. Joint spatial planning can allow conservation and social resiliency goals to work in synergy. We present a case study integrating distribution information of a threatened saltmarsh bird, the eastern black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis jamaicensis), with social information to facilitate such joint planning. We constructed a distribution model for the species within New Jersey (USA) saltmarshes and integrated this with publicly available parcel and protected area data to summarize ownership patterns. We estimated that c.0.3–2.8% (c. 260–2200 ha) of available saltmarsh is occupied by eastern black rail, most of which is publicly owned (79%). Privately owned saltmarsh was spread across nearly 5000 individual parcels, 10% of which contained areas with the highest likelihood of rail presence. Compared with all privately owned saltmarsh, parcels with probable rail habitat were larger (median: 5 versus 2 ha), contained more marsh (87% versus 59%) and were less economically valuable (US$11 200 versus US$36 100). Our approach of integrating species distributions with landownership data helps clarify trade-offs and synergies in species conservation and coastal resiliency planning.

Nazia Arbab Spatially Explicit Forest Ecological Assessment (SEFEA) tool

The Spatially Explicit Forest Ecological Assessment (SEFEA) is a decision making tool to evaluate the consequences of management plans for forested landscapes in New Jersey. SEFEA employ a user-intuitive approach by incorporating user defined management choices. Management choices within the model structure are based upon what if scenarios. A class of multi-criteria methods, a commonly used method in environmental decision-making is incorporated in the SEFEA using the weighted linear average algorithm (Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). A practical application of spatial multi criteria analysis as a decision support tool by integrating values of various land use and its attributes in the Highlands and Pinelands regions of New Jersey is embedded in the SEFEA. Analytical hierarchy pairwise comparison (AHPC) technique is implemented in SEFEA to organize and create weighted criteria. To develop an integration method for prioritizing lands, weighted overlay and Analytical Hierarchy process (AHP) is used to visualize potential suitability maps. In this context, the objective of SEFEA is the definition of priority areas for land use, aiming at the maintenance of the forest and ecological resources and biodiversity.

Mariana Bonfim, Mary Cortese, Katherine Stevenson, Amy L. Freestone ([1]Temple Amber Field Station, Temple University, Ambler, PA; [2] Department of Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA) Opportunity in recovery: leveraging a destructive climate-driven storm to educate about climate change at the Temple Ambler Field Station

Field stations are living laboratories for hands-on and field based experiences, but they can also provide powerful opportunities to train students on our most pressing environmental challenges. The Temple Ambler Field Station established the Temple Forest Observatory in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution ForestGEO as a platform for integrated research and training, and to promote diversity in the sciences. Remarkably, after detailed data had been collected, this mature eastern deciduous forest site was struck by a destructive EF-2 tornado, resulting from Hurricane Ida in September of 2021. While this large-scale climate-driven disturbance served to remind us of one of the many symptoms of climate change, there is opportunity in recovery. We have been leveraging this event and detailed pre- and post-storm data to provide a diversity of students with a powerful interdisciplinary opportunity to study the impacts of climate change in suburban Philadelphia through new courses, research internships, class visits and community outreach, that have challenged the community to think critically about climate-driven disturbances. In a world where changes are happening at unprecedent rates, providing students with field-based experiences that integrate across disciplines will be critical to preparing this and future generations for tackling the urgent challenge of climate change.


Sandy Castellano (Montclair State University), Pauline Agiy (University of Yaounde 1), Spencer Gillen (University of California Davis), Kesego Letshele (University of California Davis), Hugues Mekong (University of Yaounde 1), Lori Huck (Oklahoma State University), Claris Sunjo (University of California Davis), Stephanie Wukong (University of Yaounde 1), Henry Agbogun (Fort Hays State University), Hendratta Ali (Fort Hays State University), Eliot Atekwana (University of California Davis), Issac Njilah (University of Yaounde 1)

Influence of Watershed Geology on River Discharge into the Wouri Estuary, Cameroon

The physico-chemical measurements of the Dibamba River and Mungo River were conducted in the highly urbanized Wouri estuary in Cameroon to assess the spatial variability of the water chemistry. To the east, the Dibamba River drains metamorphic rocks while to the west the Mungo River primarily drains volcanic outpours of Mt. Cameroon. We evaluated the rate of change in key physico-chemical parameters of water samples such as salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), alkalinity, and pH. We collected 13 water samples from a segment of the Dibamba River and 10 samples from a segment of the Mungo River at intervals of 2 and 3 km between sampling locations, respectively. Measurements show that salinity decreased from 6.80 to 0.02 PSU over 16 km into the Dibamba River from the open estuary while it decreased from 2.03 to 0.02 PSU over 11 km into the Mungo River. DO showed a mean value of 4.8 ± 0.4 and 4.7 ± 0.4 ppm, for the Mungo and Dibamba respectively. The pH decreased from 7.51 to 5.9 from the open estuary into the Dibamba while the Mungo showed an average pH of 6.6. Alkalinity varied from 5 and 37 mg/L in CaCO 3 in the Dibamba River and varied from 16 to 28 mg/L in CaCO 3 in the Mungo River. The Dibamba River showed greater variations in physico-chemical parameters (salinity, pH, and alkalinity). We suggest these variations may be attributed to the greater mixing of the open estuary with the Dibamba River due to the wider opening of its channel in contrast to the constricted channel of the Mungo River.

Shannon Christiansen (University of Pennsylvania/University of Minnesota Duluth), Byron Steinman (University of Minnesota Duluth), Erik Brown (University of Minnesota Duluth), Peter Fawcett (University of New Mexico) Modeling Last Interglacial and Last Glacial Maximum Hydroclimate in the Neotropics with a focus on the Basin of Mexico

Two models from PMIP4-CMIP6 were used to analyze hydroclimate anomalies relative to 1850 CE, and underlying ocean-atmosphere circulation patterns in the Neotropics during the Last Interglacial (LIG) and Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Analyzed variables include precipitation, air temperature, sea surface temperature, and wind speed for the LIG (lig127k), LGM (lgm) and pre-industrial control (piControl) experiments. Climate anomalies were computed for annual and seasonal monthly means by calculating the difference between the paleo-experiment and pre- industrial control values. Differences between the LIG and LGM climate variable anomalies were computed to assess the influence of changes in surface energy balance, ice sheet dynamics, and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on hydroclimate sensitivity and ocean- atmosphere circulation. The model results were compared to sediment records from Lake Chalco developed as part of the MexiDrill Program. Lithology and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis of the lacustrine sediments appear to indicate a warm and dry LIG, and a wet and cold LGM which is somewhat inconsistent with model results. Future analysis will include comparing the model results to records from Lake Junín, Lake Titicaca, Lake Petén and the Valles Caldera to further assess the veracity of the model reconstructions of climate in the Neotropics during the LIG and LGM.

Jack Collins*, Mariana Bonfim, Christopher LeClair, Daniel Taratut, Lindsey Hoover, Amy L. Freestone, Brent J. Sewall (Department of Biology, Temple University) Analysis of the Egg Laying Behavior of the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) Between Urban and Suburban Environments

The advancement of human society has had a profound impact on global ecosystems. The increased degree of global connection and climate change has facilitated the spread of invasive species. The invasive pest Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) poses a threat to North American agricultural industries and ecosystems. Spotted lanternfly feeds on the phloem of its host which can be a major stressor to plants, including various native North American species. To increase the efficiency of containment efforts, Spotted lanternfly egg masses should be targeted for removal to stop infestations before the insects hatch in the spring months. To study Spotted lanternfly oviposition habits, host trees from Temple Main and Ambler campuses in Pennsylvania were surveyed for presence of human accessible Spotted lanternfly egg masses. We found that trees with diameters from 15-35cm from both sites contained the most Spotted lanternfly egg masses with the trees from Main campus containing more overall. Our results suggest that egg mass removal by hand can be most efficient when targeting trees of that size and should be conducted on trees which are in naturally disturbed areas.

Lauren Cook (Rutgers University), Grace Saba (Rutgers University) Is fish “blue” carbon actually “brown”? Initial laboratory-based approaches in quantifying fish metabolic waste products for a highly abundant, commercially harvested North Atlantic forage fish, Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus)

Small pelagic fish (“forage fish”) are potentially significant contributors to coastal carbon flux given their abundance and seasonal cross-shelf migratory behavior. Understanding their biogeochemical role in coastal regions is a growing informational need for ecosystem-based fisheries management, especially as fishing companies prepare to meet net-zero carbon emissions goals. Even though marine fish are thought to contribute to approx. 16% of carbon flux out of the euphotic zone, the uncertainty on this estimate is large, and carbon release data for forage fish are practically nonexistent. In order to constrain this estimate and better understand relative contributions of fish metabolic byproducts to carbon cycling and flux, regional estimates are required, but no full carbon production suite (fecal pellet, calcium carbonate, excretion, and respiratory CO 2 release) exists for any fish species. I conducted preliminary laboratory trials with a highly abundant and commercially harvested forage fish on the US Northeast Shelf, Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus). Results suggest Atlantic menhaden fecal material sinks rapidly (>3000 m d -1 ) and could reach coastal benthos in less than a day. I discuss achievements and limitations to this approach, and future plans to better constrain these estimates.

Ryan Gasbarro (Temple University); Alex Margolin (Temple University); Derek Sowers (NOAA Office of Exploration & Research); Erik E. Cordes (Temple University) Climate change effects on the cold-water coral reefs of the world

The distribution of biodiversity on the planet faces dramatic spatial reorganization from climate change. This is especially true in the marine realm, where species often live near their physiological limits. Thus, effective conservation agendas for marine biodiversity must be predicated upon robust multi-scenario projections of climate-driven changes in oceanographic conditions. However, much of the theory and empirical work on distributional changes in marine biodiversity comes from shallow-water ecosystems. The deep seafloor (> 200 m) has received comparably little attention despite mounting evidence of the accrual of climatic changes within this largest habitable area of the planet. Here, I present a number of case studies predicting the effects of climate change on the distributions of cold-water coral (CWC) reef habitats and their associated fauna, using both modelling approaches and empirical data collected on multiple oceanographic cruises to CWC reefs off the southeast USA (SEUS) in 2018-2019. These reefs, formed primarily by generational skeletal accumulation of five species of scleractinian coral, are persistent and widespread features of continental margins (~200 – 4000 m ) around the globe and critical biodiversity and biogeochemical cycling hotspots, Our results suggest the inter- and intra-regional and inter-taxa differences in ecological niches of reef-forming CWC species will lead to notable differences in the timing of climate change emergence and the suitability of oceanographic conditions for CWC reefs and their associated species by 2100.

Chloe Gehret (Temple), Mariana Bonfim (Temple), Mary Cortese (Temple),  Amy Freestone (Temple) Low resistance to tornado disturbance causes mass mortality of dominant trees in a temperate forest

Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disturbances, therefore modifying niche distribution, competitive exclusion pressures, and spatial occupation. Competition, however, is a structural process that could contribute to ecosystem resilience. To explore how competitive potential contributes to resistance to a large-scale disturbance, we examined the level of competition and survival of trees in a mature temperate forest stand following an EF2 tornado. Woody plant community structure data was obtained at the Temple Forest Observatory where over 4,500 individuals were censused pre- and post- windthrow disturbance. We further quantified competition experienced by individuals through a size-distant dependent competition index. Our results suggest a highly competitive pre-tornado ecosystem with distinct mechanisms and life-history characteristics contributing to the coexistence of competitors. The substantial losses of individuals due to the storm reduced competition within the forest, and competition index was not a predictor of survivorship. With climate-change driven disturbances favoring species with selected characteristics, maladapted species are more likely to become locally extinct, permanently altering species interactions and ecosystem dynamics. Determining factors that contribute to the susceptibility of dominant species to disturbance will help advance eco-evolutionary understanding of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem stability.

Vaishnavi Golluru, Jeanine Cava, Jennifer Shukaitis, Sara Elnakib, Amy Rowe, Virginia Quick



A Narrative Review on identifying effective educational strategies addressing food waste in K-12 Schools

Purpose: The purpose of this review was to provide a narrative summary of existing literature on the types of interventions used to educate middle schoolers about food waste and evaluate the effects on their behaviors and knowledge. Methods: This review was limited to studies conducted in the past decade from 2012 to 2022, performed around the globe (Spain (n=1), Greece (n=1), Poland (n=1), United Kingdom (n=1) and United States (n=2)). After running a comprehensive search protocol in three databases, six articles were reviewed. Results: Majority of the studies were conducted in middle schools (n =4), while one study included a mix of kindergartens and middle school students, and another study included middle school and high school students. While all studies report an increase in knowledge and attitudes, the majority (n=4) of studies
reported a decrease in food waste, in addition two studies reported an increase in consumption of
healthy fruits and vegetables. Multilevel approached intervention was the most effective intervention in decreasing food waste. Conclusion: Using a multilevel approach to educate children about food waste issues in schools has a positive effect on children’s behaviors and attitudes. More research is needed reinforcing food systems curriculum outside classroom, for long term changes.

Lindsey Hauff (Rutgers University), Andriamahery Razafindrakoto (Centre ValBio), Hajanirina Ravelonjanahary (Centre ValBio), Rebecca DeCamp (Rutgers University), Patricia Wright (Stony Brook University, Centre ValBio), Christina Bergey (Rutgers University) Utility of long-read, real-time sequencing for conservation research in rural Madagascar

Conservationists increasingly rely on genomics to identify populations of concern by robustly inferring demographic histories and enhancing our ability to predict response to future change. However, next-generation sequencing is often inaccessible to scientists in countries with high biodiversity but lower wealth, contributing to inequality in international partnerships. New sequencing technology designed for “field” conditions outside of laboratories in which the cold chain is unavailable or unreliable can be used to mitigate these inequalities and build genomics capacity in countries historically excluded. Here, we demonstrate the use of a portable sequencer (Oxford Nanopore MinION Mk1C) and field sequencing kit to generate genomic data from biobanked samples at the Centre ValBio research station near Ranomafana National Park in rural Madagascar. Using our field-adjusted protocol for extracting and sequencing high molecular weight DNA, two 24-hour sequencing runs were completed using DNA from a red- fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons). We sequenced 381.1 megabases of DNA (123,239 reads), with an average read length of 3,097 bases. This success showcases the utility of this method to sequence genomes without exporting samples from host countries. Our future work will use this approach to investigate rapid evolutionary change of threatened Malagasy species while supporting in-country genomic capacity building efforts.

Ekaterina Kochetkova (University of Pennsylvania), Irina Marinov (University of Pennsylvania), Jonathan Tran (University of Pennsylvania), Jacob Stranger (University of Pennsylvania) Phytoplankton size groups trends in 1990-2010

Microscopic plants in the ocean (phytoplankton) are responsible for CO2 sequestration, support food chains, and constitute an essential link in ecosystems. State-of-art global climate models from the CMIP6 experiment incorporate some functional phytoplankton groups and offer estimates of present and future simulations of the ocean state. The main interest in this study is the interplay of various plankton sizes under stress and linking it to the conditions in the future. Here, we compare remote and in-situ data to model outputs to investigate phytoplankton size dynamics in different regions of the global ocean, specifically, the Southern Ocean fronts, oligotrophic regions of the Atlantic Ocean, and calcite belt in the Southern Atlantic Ocean.

Heather L. Kostick (Drexel University), Dane C. Ward (Drexel University) Quantifying Biodiversity of Urban Cemeteries in Philadelphia, PA, USA

Green space in many cities is a limiting resource, and cemeteries and burial grounds are often-overlooked as green space. Recent studies in Europe have demonstrated that cemeteries can be local hotspots of biodiversity, supporting hundreds of species including rare species. This study aims to quantify biodiversity of three urban cemeteries (Mount Moriah, Laurel Hill, and The Woodlands) in Philadelphia, PA. Taxonomic data for birds, plants, arthropods, and terrestrial mollusks were collected using methods appropriate for each taxon. Surveys were conducted in September and October 2021. Results indicate that there is variation in quantity of taxa across all field sites. Preliminary analysis suggests there are differences in biodiversity between cemetery sites depending on the taxa which may be due to the differences in land management styles and site history; and that highest biodiversity can be found at Mount Moriah and The Woodlands when comparing all three sites. Higher numbers of non-native plant species are indicative of urban environments which are subject to biotic homogenization and invasive species. Future efforts will seek to elucidate the relationship between cemetery biodiversity and human utilization of cemeteries for passive recreation, as well as, compare cemetery biodiversity with that of other prescribed green spaces within Philadelphia.

Richard G. Lathrop (Rutgers), Rachael Sacatelli (Rutgers), Marjorie Kaplan (Rutgers), Brenda Allen (Rutgers), Glen Carleton (USGS) Coastal Forest Dieback in the Northeast USA

A number of studies have documented coastal forest dieback as a historical and ongoing process across the MidAtlantic-southern New England USA region. Our review of the scientific literature and discussion with leading experts suggests that the most important proximate mechanisms driving coastal forest edge dieback are sea-level rise induced changes in the groundwater table in concert with increased saltwater inundation related to storm surges. Enhanced freshwater inflow and the longer-term rise in groundwater levels increasingly stresses the forest vegetation and decreases regeneration potential. Episodic storm surges may then exceed the salinity or saturation tolerances of existing trees leading to a wave of mortality that leaves the site inhospitable to subsequent regeneration. Our geospatial analysis of the potential for future coastal forest dieback suggests that future coastal forest dieback is of significant geographic scope and scale to represent a region-wide issue of concern. Nearly 340,000 acres of existing forest land in the MidAtlantic-southern New England coastal zone are potentially vulnerable to the effects of 2’of sea level rise by the year 2100. Maintaining functioning coastal forests will require that the marsh and forest ecosystems be considered as an integrated unit when determining an appropriate adaptation response. With a better understanding of each of the sea level rise induced mechanisms at work in these ecosystems, managers may be better prepared for the changes ahead and facilitate proactive adaptation strategies. Easements or buyouts are vital to ensure that there is ample space for the marsh and upland systems to migrate landward together. Forward thinking land use planning is needed to promote no net loss of both marsh and coastal forest ecosystems to ensure the continued provision of their vital services to society.

Wei San Loh, Robert Noland (Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy) Quantifying Accessibility to Public Chargers across Income Groups: A Simulation Approach

The availability of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations is known to affect consumer decisions to purchase EVs. However, less is known about the equity of access to charging stations. Recognizing this gap, we estimate and compare charging station accessibility of trips on weekdays for different income groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using a microsimulation model, we simulated charging station accessibility under different battery range scenarios, assuming that different income groups have vehicles with different battery ranges. We do the analysis based on charging station availability in each traffic analysis zone (N=1442). Contrary to the general notion of unequal access to public charging stations across different income groups, we found that the disparity was minimal. However, assuming 2030 trip levels for those who need to charge during the day, the ability to successfully charge is less than 10 percent, irrespective of income group. We arrived at this conclusion despite using conservative assumptions in our simulation model. This finding highlights the need to build more charging infrastructure to meet future demand.

Miah Manning (Rutgers University), Oscar Schofield (Rutgers University) Variability of Phytoplankton on the Rapidly Melting West Antarctic Peninsula

The West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is one of the fastest winter warming places on Earth with its coastal waters being characterized by summer phytoplankton blooms that support a productive food web. The phytoplankton blooms are light-limited, and thus environmental factors including mixed layer depth (MLD) and available sunlight control their size and productivity. Using data collected by the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research program, this study explored how MLD and light availability affected the amount of plant biomass at grid line 600 at grid station 40, a seafloor canyon off the coast of Anvers island. Using plant pigments, total plant biomass and individual taxa concentrations were measured to determine the relative importance of the three major groups of phytoplankton: diatoms, cryptophytes, and mixed flagellates. Shallower MLDs (<25 meters) are associated with higher plant concentrations due to greater light availability. The results indicated that diatoms were most abundant followed by cryptophytes, then mixed flagellates. These results indicate that phytoplankton populations rely on shallow MLDs, and changing MLDs due to less ice and more wind mixing may result in lower productivity of phytoplankton along the WAP.

Marcia S. Meixler (Rutgers University), Max R. Piana (USDA Forest Service), Alexis Henry (King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks) Modeling Climate-Change Impacts on Carbon Sequestration and Storage within an Urban-Coastal Watershed

Globally, urban-coastal areas are expected to experience substantial landscape shifts as a result of climate change induced sea level rise. We employed sea level rise projections and land cover change mapping to develop a model which quantified present-day carbon sequestration, aboveground carbon storage, and belowground carbon storage and predicted the impact of sea level rise and accretion through 2100 in the urban-coastal Jamaica Bay, New York watershed. Our model predicted that future carbon sequestration, aboveground carbon storage, and belowground carbon storage potential in our watershed will be significantly impacted in wetlands and natural coastal-fringe habitat and have losses up to 0.16%, 15%, and 51%, respectively. We paired our present-day model results with data on socio- economic need (access to open space and poverty level of each census tract in the watershed) and used multivariate clustering analysis to identify clusters in which planning and restoration may help to address issues of ecological conservation and environmental justice. Our work addresses the need for better understanding of urban-coastal carbon sequestration and storage and the potential impact of future climate change on these services. Our results provide support to increase coastal resilience through informed design, planning, and management of these ecologically and socially significant landscapes.

Syeda Aiman Nadeem 1, Tess Konnovitch 2, Mark Nessel 2, Angélica González 1,2

1. Department of Biology, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ.
2. Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ.

Effects of Global Change Drivers on the Susceptibility of Wild Plants to Pathogenic Diseases

Human activities are causing major environmental changes (e.g., warming, nutrient enrichment, and shifts in precipitation levels), which are negatively affecting the structure and functioning of Earth’s ecosystems. These environmental changes have been shown to intensify or weaken plant- pathogen interactions and the extent of diseases they cause. Plant diseases can significantly affect the survival and fecundity and survival of individual plants with consequences on the structure and functioning of ecosystems. To date, however, a comprehensive quantitative synthesis of the effects of major global environmental changes on plant-pathogen interactions is still lacking. Here, we are evaluating the effects of nutrient enrichment, warming, drought, major global environmental changes, on the susceptibility and severity of diseases caused by plant pathogens. To date, we have compiled data of 212 cases of study from 22 papers and performed a meta- analysis of the effects of nutrient enrichment, warming, and drought, on wild-plant diseases caused by a variety of pathogens including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Our analysis shows that changes in temperature and precipitation significantly increased the severity of plant disease virulence, while all other environmental changes had no significant effect. Insights from this meta-analysis may help better predict how anthropogenic changes may be driving the prevalence of these plant-pathogen interactions. Understanding how global change drivers affect plant- pathogen interactions is crucial to better predict the outcome of infectious plant diseases and to improve our ability to mitigate their effects.

Zoe Narvaez (Rutgers Center for Vector Biology), Dina Fonseca (Rutgers Center for Vector Biology) Double Trouble: The Northern Range Expansion of Two Sibling Species of Mosquitoes

Aedes tormentor Dyar & Knab and Aedes atlanticus Dyar & Knab are closely related and morphologically almost indistinguishable species of woodland floodwater mosquitoes. Both species have historically been confined to the southeastern United States, although the more cold-tolerant Ae. atlanticus was known in southern New Jersey. Here we report the first identification of Ae. tormentor in northwestern NJ, Hunterdon County, in July of 2020. Subsequent evidence from nearby counties supports the establishment of this species in NJ. Analysis of historical specimens and county surveillance records indicates the absence of Ae. tormentor until at least 2018, at which point sibling species Ae. atlanticus was found state-wide. We suggest that recent mild winters have allowed the expansion and survival of Ae. tormentor, a likely vector of Keystone virus, in NJ. The fact that adult Ae. tormentor are nearly indistinguishable from Ae. atlanticus is expected to complicate statewide mosquito and mosquito-borne pathogen surveillance. The cooperative efforts of county and Rutgers-based researchers are recommended to monitor this and other cryptic species that may be undergoing climate-driven range expansion.

Shawna Pantzke (North Dakota State University), Beth Ferguson (USDA), Jarrad Prasifka (USDA) Rising weevil:  experiments on the effect of temperature and overwintering depth on mortality of an agricultural pest

The red sunflower seed weevil, Smicronyx fulvus, is a seed feeding pest of cultivated sunflower, Helianthus annuus L. that overwinters in the soil as larvae. We developed experiments to (i) determine the temperature at which larvae freeze through supercooling point (SCP) analysis, (ii) observe potential vertical movement throughout the S. fulvus overwintering period, and (iii) determine if field soil temperature changes could explain patterns in overwintering mortality. Mean SCP of S. fulvus larvae ranged from -20.9 ± 0.48°C to -22.7 ± 0.37°C. Larvae were found within 6 cm of the soil surface in the first overwintering sample dates (September – January) but were 1-2 cm deeper in samples taken January through April, possibly due to mortality of those in the top layers. In additional laboratory experiments we found high mortality in overwintering larvae otherwise kept at 4°C but exposed to temperatures below -8 °C for a week or longer. Our results indicate that tillage, which increases exposure of larvae in deeper soil layers to cold surface temperatures, may be an effective non-insecticidal management strategy for the red sunflower seed weevil. However, warming temperatures will likely increase survival and undermine the approach.

Jose R. Ramirez-Garofalo (Rutgers University), Shannon R. Curley (Cornell University) Latitude shifts in eastern North American waterbird distributions track winter temperature and precipitation

Species are responding to climate by shifting their geographic ranges. Quantifying patterns of range shifts are important for predicting climate-driven extinction risk. There is currently a lack of direct study on winter range shifts in North American waterbirds, despite the effects of climate change disproportionately affecting them (e.g., through sea-level rise). In this study, we test if there is an association between winter temperatures, precipitation, preferred habitat-type, and winter range shifts in coastal and inland waterbirds. Of the 101 species investigated, 46 species (45.5%) shifted their latitude from 1990–2018. We found that 34 (33.6%) species shifted their latitude significantly northward and 12 (11.8%) species significantly southward. Fifty-five (54.4%) species that did not significantly shift in latitude. On average, species that have shifted northward in latitude did so at a rate of ~4.30 km per year, while species shifting their weighted latitude south at a rate of ~5.70 km per year. General linear mixed models revealed a significant negative association between a species’ average latitude and minimum winter temperature, winter precipitation, and preferred habitat type. This information will be valuable to resource managers preparing for changes in distribution, harvest regulations, and location of protected areas in this highly urbanized region.

James Shope (Rutgers New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center), Dean Polk (Rutgers Specialty Crop Research and Extension Center), Carrie Mansue (Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County, Rutgers University), Cesar Rodriguez-Saona (P.E. Marucci Center, Rutgers University) The contrasting role of climate variation on the population dynamics of a native and an invasive blueberry insect pest

Worldwide insect invasions have cost over $1.288 trillion in prevention and control over the last 50 years. The spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, has become a major pest of soft, thin- skinned fruits in the USA since 2008, causing significant annual yield losses. Historically, the native blueberry maggot fly, Rhagoletis mendax, has been a key blueberry pest in eastern North America and a driver of insecticide usage. After invasion in 2011, D. suzukii has supplanted R. mendax as the main target of insecticide applications in New Jersey. However, the interaction of D. suzukii and the native R. mendax has not been documented, particularly in relation to local climate. Historical monitoring data from New Jersey blueberry farms were used to assess the role of climate on R. mendax and D. suzukii populations. R. mendax activity decreased after invasion while D. suzukii’s increased, modulated by local climate. Winter freezing and summer growing degree days were found to significantly correlate with D. suzukii activity. Using downscaled climate data, it was projected that D. suzukii will arrive in New Jersey blueberry fields up to five days earlier on average by 2030 and two weeks earlier by 2050 with warming temperatures, exacerbating yield losses and insecticide usage.

Simon, J.E., O. Schofield, R. Govindasamy, D.K. Seidel, M. Balick, D. Hoffman, C. Pray, M. De Luca, E. Schoolman, L. Brindisi, E. Merchant, M. Robson, Y. Jin, E. Ioanis, E. Joseph, M. Winfred, A. George, C. Yowbalaw, T. Mondale, M. Nakayama, C. Benito Climate Resiliency and Holistic Food System Development in the Federated States of Micronesia

With support from the Green Climate Fund, Rutgers’ Holistic Food System science team in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is working with the national and state governments of the Federated States of Micronesia to gather baseline data on “Climate-resilient food security for farming households”. Assessing food production, market challenges and goals for agriculture, livestock, poultry, fish and marine mammals within a changing climate, data collected on the ground be used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the local food systems as well as the climate resiliency needs of subsistence and aspiring commercial farmers and fishers.

Sukrut Sonty (RWJMS), Daniel Scalia (RWJMS) Planetary Health Report Card at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

There is a strong link between climate change and health. Therefore, it is paramount that new generations of healthcare professionals are capable of dealing with conditions from kidney stones to asthma in new contexts. At Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), we are examining the extent of climate education in our curriculum using the Planetary Health Report Card (PHRC): an international effort to evaluate medical schools on planetary health instruction. The information collected includes planetary health education, interdisciplinary research, community outreach, student-led initiatives and campus sustainability. Each category is assigned a score based on the quality and quantity of metrics fulfilled. Through this effort, we highlighted how students learn about the devastating effects of our changing environment on vulnerable populations. We also identified gaps in the curriculum where topics such as One Health and environmental justice were not addressed. Through this work, we have begun to embed student-led, climate-specific topics in pre-clinical lectures to fill curricular gaps. The PHRC allows RWJMS to join the national report on the efficacy of medical schools in preparing climate-responsive future physicians. We are the first school in NJ to undergo this curricular evaluation.

Staffen, M., McDonnell, J., Vega, A., Newman, M., Walsh, K., Lichtenwalner, S., Hotaling, L., Data to the Rescue: Penguins Need our Help Community Education Program

Data to the Rescue: Penguins Need our Help was developed as part of a series of Out of School Time, (OST) data focused activities designed to create replicable ways of bringing polar education to informal learning environments. Our research questions explore to what extent we can create OST sessions focused on polar literacy concepts and scientific data that youth find engaging. We focused on increasing:

• youth understanding of a subset of the Polar Literacy Principles (PLP) (see

• STEM identity in youth including their engagement and fascination with science

• data skills using LTER Palmer data

• Broader Impact capacity of early career scientist collaborators

• Science communication skills using Data Jams

This poster will share educational activities available for reaching youth audiences both virtual and in-person will share outcomes and lessons learned of this project.

Christopher Terra (Rutgers University – Newark), Ryan Frederiks (University of Delaware), Anner Paldor (University of Delaware), Holly Michael (University of Delaware), Lee Slater (Rutgers University – Newark) Using Hydrologic Model Data to Inform Time-Lapse ERT Investigations of Saltwater Intrusion During Storm Surges

Due to the effects of global climate change on the frequency and severity of tropical cyclones, coastal communities are experiencing an increase in the rate of salinization of their freshwater resources. This study is an introduction to a larger project that aims to investigate saltwater transport dynamics occurring in the wake of storm surges by incorporating electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) into hydrologic modeling of coastal saline transport at a field site on Assateague Island, MD. Synthetic ERT surveys were generated transforming the output of a hydrologic model into a distribution of electrical conductivity values. The hydrologic model for the site was generated using the software HydroGeoSphere and was informed using data from three series of nested monitoring wells installed at the field site and run to simulate the inundation and subsequent flushing of seawater in the area. The purpose of this study is to verify the ability of electrical geophysical methods to capture fine-scale transport structures at a resolution that hydrologic models often cannot produce and to test the sensitivity of different survey configurations to resolving sharp changes in electrical conductivity.

Sadiya B. Tijjani (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Subhasis Giri (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Sean Woznicki (Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University), Richard Lathrop (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) Impacts of climate change on green water scarcity, irrigation demand, and crop yield in the coastal environment of New Jersey

Regarding global food security, climate change-induced irrigated agriculture has a significant role. Therefore, it is a prerequisite to understanding how changing precipitation patterns and rising temperature impact green water scarcity, irrigation demand, and crop production from a water resources management perspective. This study evaluated the effects of near-term temperature, elevated atmospheric CO 2, and precipitation on irrigation, green water scarcity, and row crop yields (corn and soybean) in a major agricultural watershed in southern New Jersey. Two representative concentration pathways (RCP-4.5 and 8.5) from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) were used to run the Soil and Water Assessment Tool hydrological model (SWAT) to represent different climate change scenarios. Projected precipitation under climate change scenarios increases lead to greater water yield (e.g., surface, underground and lateral flow). The result showed a projected seasonal decrease in ET for corn, leading to a decrease in irrigation demand between −17% to −1%. Corn yield changes between −4% to +9%, depending on the GCMs in the RCP-4.5 scenario. A similar pattern is projected for the RCP-8.5 scenario. The result also indicates a declining trend of ET and irrigation demand for soybean while increasing yield between +1 to +13%. Increasing yield for both crops is attributed to changes in agronomic management practices and CO 2 fertilization due to increased soil fertility combined with genetically improved cultivars. A declining trend of soil moisture stress is observed due to increased crop water use efficiency resulting from reduced stomatal conductance under future climate change scenarios.

Hansen Tjo (Princeton University), Jonathan M. Conway (Princeton University) Engineering Sugar Transporters in Caldicellulosiruptor bescii for Enhanced Biofuels Production

Cellulosic biofuels play a vital role in addressing the climate and clean energy crises of the 21st century. However, biofuels face economic viability constraints due to lignocellulose recalcitrance to degradation. Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, a non-model extremely thermophilic bacterium (Topt ~ 75 C), is a promising metabolic engineering host organism due to its highly effective cellulases and absence of carbon catabolite repression enabling simultaneous fermentation of a broad range of sugar substrates. Nevertheless, the potential of C. bescii as a model microbial platform for biofuels production is limited by a relatively poor understanding of its sugar transport systems for moving extracellular oligosaccharides inside the cell for metabolism. We aim to resolve this challenge by characterizing structure-function relationships in C. bescii’s repertoire of ABC sugar transporters to predict transported substrates. Using well- established protein expression and crystallization workflows, we will obtain three-dimensional protein structures of the substrate-binding-domains in each ABC sugar transporter. In addition we will measure substrate-binding affinities through isothermal titration calorimetry. These results will be complemented by in vivo studies using knockout genetics in C. bescii. Altogether, our efforts will accelerate the development of C. bescii as a model metabolic engineering platform for biofuels production to address present day climate and energy challenges.

Jacquelyn Veatch (Rutgers University) Erick Fredj (The Jerusalem College of Technology) Josh Kohut (Rutgers University) Assessing the role of ocean currents on prey concentration from hourly to seasonal scales using lagrangian coherent structures

In response to the introduction of offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB), the following study quantifies the coastal ocean’s role in prey concentrating features present in offshore wind lease areas. Consistent or seasonal prey concentrating features created by ocean hydrodynamics could be essential to marine mammal migration and feeding around offshore wind lease areas, aggregating food sources into marine “grocery stores” then targeted by larger marine animals. Knowledge of where and when prey concentrating features (marine grocery stores) exist and persist could be valuable in understanding feeding habits, spatial distributions, and reliance on northeast shelf oceanography of fishes and marine mammals. Recent advances in Lagrangian Coherent Structure (LCS) analyses aim to identify these concentrating physical ocean currents and quantify their strength and persistence. While LCSs have been applied to many open ocean regions, the use of these tools in the coastal ocean with much smaller more complex dynamic scales, has yet to be fully explored. The following study searches for these marine grocery stores by quantifying the relationship between concentrating mechanisms in coastal surface currents identified by LCS and the spatial distribution of plankton. Four popular LCS analyses will be used: Transient Attractive Profiles (TrAP), Relative Particle Density (RPD), Finite Size Lyapunov Exponents (FSLE) and Finite Time Lyapunov Exponents (FTLE). The analysis began in a simple, tightly-coupled food web where relationships between concentrating features and bioactivity are easier to identify, Palmer Deep, Antarctica. LCS were derived from observed surface current velocity data provided by a three-site High Frequency Radar (HFR) network over known penguin foraging areas and compared to concurrent prey and predator distribution data. The LCS metrics most aligned with the marine ecology of the simpler system in Palmer Deep were then applied to a more complex migratory food web in the MAB. LCS calculations were derived from MARACOOS network of sixteen HFRs that have been providing hourly surface velocity measurements in this region for more than a decade. Preliminary results show that strong LCS concentrating features are related to an increase in satellite observed phytoplankton presence, concentrating food resources and acting as “marine grocery stores”. Future work will analyze these LCS metrics over multiple years, looking for interannual and seasonal variability. Seasonal persistence of concentrating features will be quantified and compared to important life cycle stages of MAB species. Persistent seasonal LCS features may serve as reliable migratory pathways acting as “marine highways”. Results will provide a new quantitative methodology for assessing marine ecosystems and population dynamics, inform ecosystem models, and deepen understanding of the role of physical ocean features in structuring marine ecology.

Jordan Warner (Undergraduate Rutgers Newark University) Assessing Sustainability Engagement at Rutgers University

The Office of Climate Action, Rutgers University, prepares the Rutgers University assessment of sustainability engagement performance on a nationwide reporting system. However, the utilization of this reporting system needs to maintain consistency with other measured universities. The study uses observational research from “The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.” 1 Many elements were considered in preparing Rutgers University for this national reporting system. Identify the universities to model the reporting style for the upcoming Rutgers University report. The universities were chosen to model after observing demographics, physical size, the number of buildings, enrolled students, etc. Next, benchmarking the engagement data from the STARS system of twenty-eight different chosen universities. After compiling and analyzing the collected engagement data from all twenty-eight universities the data showed inconsistent ratings by the STARS engagement category measurements. Based on these findings, there is a vast range of engagement with the universities that get rated equally in the STARS assessment system; the challenge is recognizing universities’ and colleges’ effective and influential sustainability engagement.

Mackenzie Weaver (Rowan University); Dr. Andra Garner (Rowan University) Varying Genesis and Landfall Locations for North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones in a Warmer Climate

Tropical cyclones (TCs) are one of the most dangerous hazards that threaten U.S. coastlines. They can be particularly damaging when they occur in densely populated areas, such as the U.S. Northeast. Here, we investigate seasonal-scale variations in TC genesis and subsequent first landfall locations of >37,000 synthetic TCs that impact the U.S. Northeast from the pre-industrial era (prior to 1800) through a very high emissions future (RCP8.5; 2080-2100).  TC genesis in the Main Development Region decreases across all parts of the season from the pre-industrial to the future, with the greatest decreases (up to 80.49%) occurring in the early and late seasons. Conversely, TC genesis in a region near the U.S. southeast coast increases across all parts of the season from the pre-industrial to the future, with the greatest increases (up to 286.45%) also occurring in the early and late seasons. Impacts of changing TC genesis locations are highlighted by variations in where TCs make their first landfall over the same time periods, with an increase in landfalls along the mid-Atlantic seaboard from Delaware to North Carolina during all parts of the season from the pre-industrial to the future.

Jing Xiao (Rutgers University),  K. Rennermalm (Rutgers University), Federico Covi (University of Alaska Fairbanks), Regine Hock (University of Alaska Fairbanks; Oslo University), Sasha Z. Leidman (Rutgers University), Clément Miège (Rutgers University) Local topography’s impact on ice slab formation in southwest Greenland’s percolation zone

The ongoing warming in Greenland increases surface melting causing more meltwater refreezing in near-surface firn. Refrozen ice layers vary in extent, depth from the surface, and thickness, influenced by various factors such as climate and topography. Here we investigate the lateral continuity and local variability of ice layers in firn and their relationship with local topography. We selected a supraglacial catchment about 85 km 2 , at 1860-1960 m a.s.l. in southwest Greenland’s percolation zone. We collected five firn cores and conducted ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys with a 400-MHz radar in May 2019. From the top 20 m of the GPR transects, we mapped one major thick ice slab with thickness of at least 3-4 m, which agrees relatively well with the ice slab determined from the cores. Despite the laterally continuity, the depth from the surface and the thickness of this ice slab change across the catchment, co-varying with topography indices such as elevation and slope. The results suggest that in a small catchment with uniform climate conditions, the local topography likely controls the subsurface lateral flow of meltwater at the firn/ice slab interface to flat, low elevation depressions, and thus the formation and development of ice slabs.

Lin Zheng (Rutgers University), Qizhong Guo (Rutgers University) Impacts of Spatial Heterogeneity in Substrate Conditions on Green Roof Plant Growth

Green roofs have been utilized as efficient tools to mitigate climate change for their multiple benefits including reduction of stormwater runoff, heat-island effect, and energy consumption, as compared with conventional roofs. Microclimates of green roofs, such as solar radiation and wind, have been identified as main determinants of substrate conditions and thus plant growth. Spatial variabilities in substrate conditions (e.g., temperature, moisture) appear due to green roofs’ varying architectural configurations, which lead to spatial heterogeneity in plant growth. However, relatively little is known about the effects of spatial substrate heterogeneity on plant growth of green roofs. Research was conducted through plant growth assessments by field observations as well as substrate condition measurements by sensors installed on a study roof at Rutgers University. Results identified the soil temperature as the primary factor for plant growth on green roofs. Additionally, the researchers have obtained data and identified spatial heterogeneities in substrate conditions and plant growth on a green roof. Relationships have also been developed for prediction of spatial distribution of plant growth to address the impacts of spatial heterogeneity in substrate conditions. The findings provide insights into microclimatic effects, ecosystem benefits, and spatially optimized structure design and plant selection of green roofs.