Skip directly to content

Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Wyoming
  • Daniel F Doak
  • (307) 766-5470
Award Date:09/10/2007
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 225,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 262,375
  • FY 2012=$10,325
  • FY 2008=$52,500
  • FY 2010=$64,550
  • FY 2011=$45,000
  • FY 2009=$45,000
  • FY 2007=$45,000
Start Date:09/15/2007
End Date:05/31/2013
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Federal Award ID Number:0717049
DUNS ID:069690956
Parent DUNS ID:069690956

Awardee Location

Street:1000 E. University Avenue
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Wyoming
Street:1000 E. University Avenue
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Along the most critical issues in anticipating, and thus preparing for, the effects of global climate change is predicting how the abundances and geographic distributions of plants and animals will be impacted by altered weather patterns. Alpine and arctic plants are among the species believed to be most susceptible to such changes. This project will continue a long-term study of two arctic/alpine plants across their range from arctic tundra in Alaska to high alpine areas of Colorado. Data collected to date show that as their southern limits are approached, both species show declining average success in survival and reproduction and higher variability in these performance measures. The planned project will tie these ecological responses to local and regional climate patterns and then using predicted climate changes and population ecology models to predict the future range limits of these species. The proposed work would foster involvement of graduate and undergraduate students in both lab and field aspects of ecological research. Both PIs are also involved in public education programs in the states where this work will be conducted. Most importantly, this research will build capacity to anticipate climate change impacts, including the development of methodologies that can be extended to other species and ecosystems.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

Morris, W. F., C. A. Pfister, S. D. Tuljapurkar, C.V. Haridas, C. L. Boggs, M. S. Boyce, E.M. Bruna, D. R. Church, T. Coulson, D. F. Doak, S. Forsyth, J. Gaillard, C.C. Horvitz, S. Kalisz, B.E. Kendall, T. M. Knight, C.T. Lee, E.S. Menges. "Longevity can buffer plant and animal populations against changing climatic variability." Ecology, v.89, 2008, p.19.

Springer, A.M., J.A. Estes, G.B. van Vliet, T.M. Williams, D.F. Doak, E.M. Danner, and B. Pfister. "Mammal-eating killer whales, industrial whaling, and the sequential megafaunal collapse in the North Pacific: a reply to critics of Springer et al. 2003" Marine Mammal Science, v.24, 2008, p.414.

Ellis, M.M., J.L.Williams, P. Lesica, T.J. Bell, P. Bierzychudek, M. Bowles, E.E. Crone, D.F. Doak, J. Ehrlén, A. Ellis-Adam, K. McEachern, R. Ganesan, P Latham, S. Luijten, T.N. Kaye, T.N. Knight, E.S. Menges, W.F. Morris, H. den Nijs, G. Oostermeijer, "Matrix population models from 20 studies of perennial plant populations." Ecology, v.93, 2012, p.951.

Pringle, RM; Doak, DF; Brody, AK; Jocque, R; Palmer, TM "Spatial Pattern Enhances Ecosystem Functioning in an African Savanna" PLOS BIOLOGY, v.8, 2010, p.. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.100037  View record at Web of Science

Ellis, M.M., J. L. Williams, P. Lesica, T.J. Bell, P. Bierzychudek, M. Bowles, E.E. Crone, D.F. Doak, J. Ehrlén, A. Ellis-Adam, K. McEachern, R. Ganesan, P. Latham, S. Luijten, T.N. Kaye, T.M. Knight, E.S. Menges, W.F. Morris, H. den Nijs, G. Oostermeije "Matrix population models from 20 studies of perennial plant populations" Ecology, v.93, 2012, p.951.

Loso, M.G., R. S. Anderson, D. F. Doak, and S. P. Anderson. "A Disappearing Lake Reveals the Little Ice Age History of Climate and Glacier Response in the Icefields of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve." Alaska Park Science, v.6, 2007, p.30.

Maclean, JE; Goheen, JR; Doak, DF; Palmer, TM; Young, TP "Cryptic herbivores mediate the strength and form of ungulate impacts on a long-lived savanna tree" ECOLOGY, v.92, 2011, p.1626. View record at Web of Science

Doak, D. F., J. A. Estes, B. S. Halpern, Ute Jacob, D. R. Lindberg, J. Lovvorn, D. H. Monson, M. T. Tinker, T. M. Williams, J. T. Wootton, I. Carroll, M. Emmerson, F. Micheli, and M. Novak. "Understanding and predicting ecological dynamics: are major surprises inevitable?" Ecology, v.89, 2008, p.952.

Linares, C; Doak, DF "Forecasting the combined effects of disparate disturbances on the persistence of long-lived gorgonians: a case study of Paramuricea clavata" MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES, v.402, 2010, p.59. doi:10.3354/meps0843  View record at Web of Science

Bakker, VJ; Doak, DF; Roemer, GW; Garcelon, DK; Coonan, TJ; Morrison, SA; Lynch, C; Ralls, K; Shaw, R "Incorporating ecological drivers and uncertainty into a demographic population viability analysis for the island fox" ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, v.79, 2009, p.77. View record at Web of Science

Fox-Dobbs, K; Doak, DF; Brody, AK; Palmer, TM "Termites create spatial structure and govern ecosystem function by affecting N-2 fixation in an East African savanna" ECOLOGY, v.91, 2010, p.1296. View record at Web of Science

Palmer, TM; Doak, DF; Stanton, ML; Bronstein, JL; Kiers, ET; Young, TP; Goheen, JR; Pringle, RM "Synergy of multiple partners, including freeloaders, increases host fitness in a multispecies mutualism" PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v.107, 2010, p.17234. doi:10.1073/pnas.100687210  View record at Web of Science

Shriver, R.K., K. Cutler, and D.F. Doak. "Comparative demography of an epiphytic lichen: support for general life history patterns and solutions to common problems in demographic parameter estimation." Oecologia, v.170, 2012, p.137-146.

Estes, JA; Doak, DF; Springer, AM; Williams, TM "Causes and consequences of marine mammal population declines in southwest Alaska: a food-web perspective" PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v.364, 2009, p.1647. doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.023  View record at Web of Science

Finkelstein, ME; Wolf, S; Goldman, M; Doak, DF; Sievert, PR; Balogh, G; Hasegawa, H "The anatomy of a (potential) disaster: Volcanoes, behavior, and population viability of the short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)" BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, v.143, 2010, p.321. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2009.10.01  View record at Web of Science

Bolger, D.T., W.D. Newmark, T.A. Morrison, and D.F. Doak "The need for integrative approaches to understand and conserve migratory ungulates" Ecology Letters, v.11, 2008, p.63.

Doak, D. F., V. Bakker, M. Finkelstein, B. Sullivan, R. Lewison, B. Keitt, J.Arnold, J. Croxall, Fiorenza Micheli, M. Sanjayan. "Compensatory mitigation for marine bycatch will do harm, not good." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, v.5, 2007, p.350.

Finkelstein, ME; Doak, DF; Nakagawa, M; Sievert, PR; Klavitter, J "Assessment of demographic risk factors and management priorities: impacts on juveniles substantially affect population viability of a long-lived seabird" ANIMAL CONSERVATION, v.13, 2010, p.148. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00311.  View record at Web of Science

Conway-Cranos, LL; Doak, DF "Sampling errors create bias in Markov models for community dynamics: the problem and a method for its solution" OECOLOGIA, v.167, 2011, p.199. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-1979-  View record at Web of Science

Finkelstein, M. E., S. Wolf, M. Goldman, D. F. Doak, P. R. Sievert, G. Balogh, and H. Hasegawa. "The anatomy of a (potential) disaster: Volcanoes, behavior, and population viability of the short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)." Biological Conservation, v.143, 2010, p.321.

Langendorf, Ryan E. and Doak, Daniel F. "Can Community Structure Causally Determine Dynamics of Constituent Species? A Test Using a Host-Parasite Community" The American Naturalist, v.194, 2019, p.. doi:10.1086/704182 Citation details  

Brody, AK; Palmer, TM; Fox-Dobbs, K; Doak, DF "Termites, vertebrate herbivores, and the fruiting success of Acacia drepanolobium" ECOLOGY, v.91, 2010, p.399. View record at Web of Science

Bakker, V. J., D. F. Doak, G. W. Roemer, D. K. Garcelon, T. J. Coonan, S.A. Morrison, C. Lynch, K. Ralls, and R. Shaw "Estimating and incorporating ecological drivers and parameter uncertainty into a demographic population viability analysis for the Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis)" Ecological Monographs, v.79, 2009, p.77.

Monson, D.H., D.F. Doak, B.E. Ballachey, and J.L. Bodkin. 2011 "Could residual oil from the Exxon Valdez spill create a long-term population â??sinkâ?? for sea otters in Alaska?" Ecological Applications, v.21, 2011, p.2917.

Bakker, V. J. and D. F. Doak. "Population viability management: Ecological standards to guide adaptive management for rare species" Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, v.7, 2009, p.158.

Doak, DF; Morris, WF "Demographic compensation and tipping points in climate-induced range shifts" NATURE, v.467, 2010, p.959. doi:10.1038/nature0943  View record at Web of Science

Linares, C., and D.F. Doak. "Modeling the interacting effects of multiple, disparate disturbances on the persistence of a threatened gorgonian coral." Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.402, 2010, p.321.

Doak, DF; Estes, JA; Halpern, BS; Jacob, U; Lindberg, DR; Lovvorn, J; Monson, DH; Tinker, MT; Williams, TM; Wootton, JT; Carroll, I; Emmerson, M; Micheli, F; Novak, M "Understanding and predicting ecological dynamics: Are major surprises inevitable?" ECOLOGY, v.89, 2008, p.952. View record at Web of Science

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Anticipating how the geographical ranges of species will shift is a major challenge in projecting the biotic consequences of global climate change. In turn, predicting range shifts will require an understanding of the population- and community-level mechanisms setting range limits. With initial (this award) and renewed LTREB support, this project comprises a long-term study (currently 17 years) aimed at understanding the demographic factors limiting the latitudinal and climatic ranges of two tundra plant species in western North America. Twenty-nine populations of marked individuals of the two species from near the southern range limits in New Mexico to northern Alaska (Figure1) have been censused every year for at least 4 and up to 17 years, yielding multi-year, quantitative estimates of all vital rates (survival, growth, reproductive output, and recruitment): since 2001, we have collected over 65,00 and 45,000 plant-years of demographic data across our study populations for moss campion and alpine bistort, respectively. In addition, we have collected micro-climate data and performed an experiment in which we manipulate neighboring plants to understand how competition and facilitation may interact with climate in their effects on plant populations.


The main finding of this study is that compensatory changes in demographic rates are buffering southern populations of our two focal species against the negative effects of a warming climate, slowing their northward range shifts, but that this buffering is unlikely to continue indefinitely. Southern populations of both species showed lower survival and recruitment but higher growth of individual plants, possibly owing to longer, warmer growing seasons. Because of these and other compensatory changes, the population growth rates of southern populations are not at present lower than those of northern ones. However, continued warming may yet prove detrimental, as most demographic rates that improved in moderately warmer years declined in the warmest years, with the potential to drive future population declines (Figure 2). Our results emphasize the need for long-term, range-wide measurement of all population processes to detect contrasting effects of warming on different demographic rates and to identify nonlinear responses that may lead to sudden range shifts as climatic tipping points are exceeded.

 In addition to this result, our research has also lead to the development of demographic approaches that have been applied to multiple other species and study systems. In addition, we have contributed our data to synthetic studies comparing ecological patterns across different taxonomic groups. Finally, we have made all our data available on the web for other scientists to use.

 Broader Impacts: Over the course of this award, 15 undergraduate and graduate students have been supported and trained in both modeling and field methods of population ecology.  These students have come from Duke, Univ. Wyoming, and other institutions. In addition, over four REUs have been supported in this project. Beyond this training component, this research has important impacts in building capacity to anticipate climate change impacts (both direct and indirect, i.e., mediated by interactions with other species) on some of the ecosystems thought to be most susceptible to warming effects, alpine and arctic tundra.  Our work received considerable media attention in fall 2010, with publication of a Nature paper on our findings. Over 17 news outlets covered this paper, and it was also featured on the NSF website.




Last Modified: 06/10/2013
Modified by: Daniel F Doak

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.