Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.86
Liaison Elida Erickson
Submission Date March 23, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of California, Santa Cruz
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Shauna Casey
Sustainability Programs Manager
Campus Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

UC Santa Cruz researchers have partnered with 60 faculty from across the UC system with a goal of using the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) to detect and forecast the ecological impacts of climate change in California. The Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI) received $1.9 million in funding, the largest of the new President's Research Catalyst Awards announced by UC President Janet Napolitano. UC Santa Cruz biologist Barry Sinervo will lead the institute, which involves all of UC's undergraduate campuses. The NRS is the world's largest system of university-administered natural reserves, offering a powerful opportunity for scientists to study how climate change will affect California ecosystems and the ecosystem services that people rely on.

ISEECI is focused around four main research themes: Climate and Land Use History; Coastal-Terrestrial Linkages; Studying the Future; and the Effects of Drought. For a snapshot of how the institute approaches its research, the Climate History focus group integrates diverse data from biological to geochemical systems and combines them to create a more detailed climate history. California climate history is well understood in broad brushstrokes but not in detail. By combining historical climate information from tree, shrub, and animal growth rings with climate information from packrat middens, pollen records in lakes and other sources, they will start to build a uniquely granular picture of California climate history. To integrate the historical data with the current conditions ISEECI is currently building a network of sensors that will measure the sensitivity of biological systems to climate change, including instruments to measure animal and plant physiology. These data will allow researchers to tease apart the sensitivities and responses of the ecosystem components to changes in climate. Increasing the understanding of the variation in these responses will enable the research to be translated into sustainable and effective land management processes in the face of climate change, and potentially generate ways in which to mitigate against future effects and allowing the sustainable management of ecosystem services.

ISEECI researchers will assemble historical records, establish a new system for data collection, and conduct experiments and long-term monitoring studies across the state. Although there have been many in-depth studies documenting climate impacts, they have largely been done independently, with results that are difficult to compare among studies. ISEECI will pursue a coordinated approach across broad geographic scales. Researchers will develop models to predict future changes to ecosystems and potential impacts on ecosystem services that might threaten the capacity of Californians to adapt to a changing climate.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

ISEECI researchers will assemble historical records, establish a new system for data collection, and conduct experiments and long-term monitoring studies across the state. Although there have been many in-depth studies documenting climate impacts, they have largely been done independently, with results that are difficult to compare among studies. ISEECI will pursue a coordinated approach across broad geographic scales. Researchers will develop models to predict future changes to ecosystems and potential impacts on ecosystem services that might threaten the capacity of Californians to adapt to a changing climate.

Research will assess the scope of biotic changes, to devise suitable conservation and restoration responses, and to advise policymakers and the public on how to adapt to and mitigate potential threats to natural ecosystems, agriculture, water resources and sustainable development


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of 5):
Yes or No
Curriculum Yes
Research Yes
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement ---
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings No
Dining Services No
Energy ---
Grounds No
Purchasing No
Transportation No
Waste No
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment No

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
Climate change, ecosystems, ecosystem services, conservation, restoration, natural resources, agriculture

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

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