Ecosystems across the world are already affected by climate change, and these effects are not only felt in tropical rainforests and arctic glacier fields, but also right here in the Great Lakes region. From changing growing seasons for agriculture to the increased presence of insect pests that used to be deterred by cold winters, and from shifting tree populations to warmer and wetter summers, climate change requires adaptation and prevention from people in the Great Lakes region and beyond.

Monarch Butterfly

Researchers at Ohio State University and other institutions are studying the various effects climate change has on ecosystems in the Great Lakes region and beyond, and they are making some amazing discoveries along the way. This area of aims to introduce the public to their findings, provide information about upcoming public events where researchers speak about their results, and offer additional resources to those wanting to learn more about how local, national and international ecosystems may be affected by a growing global problem that is already affecting Ohio and its neighboring states.


The Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Evidence from Agricultural Output and Random Fluctuations in Weather

The increase of greenhouse gas emissions will cause higher temperatures and increased precipitation across the globe, including in the United States. According to a robust economic model, U.S. agricultural annual profits will increase by $1.3 billion annually in 2002 dollars, or by 4 percent. Studies find that climate change will have virtually no effect on yields of corn and soybeans, suggesting that the small effect on profits is not due to short-run price increases.

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Tracking the Rhythm of the Seasons in the Face of Global Change: Phenological Research in the 21st Century.

Phenology – the study of life cycles – can be used to track the effects of climate change on some species or ecosystems. This paper discusses the use of advanced technology such as satellite imaging data to understand how climate change and global warming can affect an ecosystem’s rhythms over time, as well as how this technology makes sharing of data faster and more efficient so new data can be used to make informed land management decisions.

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WICCI Coastal Communities Working Group Report

This report focuses on the impact of climate change on Wisconsin’s coastal communities, from changes in water levels and that could impact recreational and commercial harbors and marinas to rising water temperatures that could provide improved conditions for waterborne pathogens. Strategies for adaptations to these threats are also included and could be applied to the situation in other Great Lakes states.

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WICCI Soil Conservation Working Group Report

As climate change brings rising temperatures and changing precipitation to the Great Lakes region, agricultural practices have to be adapted to conserve the soil used to grow food products and other resources. This report summarizes how the soil is impacted by current and future climate conditions and provides adaptation and monitoring strategies to balance soil conservation with the population’s needs for agricultural products.

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Ecosystems Presentations

  • 2010-10-14
    Dr. Dan Herms

    Ohio State University
    Effects of Climate Change on Species Interactions in Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems. Read more.

  • 2011-01-11
    Dr. Peter Curtis

    Ohio State University
    Managing Great Lakes Forests for Climate Change Mitigation Read more.