The Center for Mechanisms of Animal Responses to Environmental Stress (MARES)’s vision is to understand biological mechanisms underlying how vertebrate animal populations in natural and managed ecosystems respond to climate change. Climate change is rapidly increasing average global temperatures and the frequency of extreme weather events. These changes will have profound impacts on both free-living and domestic animal populations. MARES will address the NSF Grand Challenges of “predicting organisms’ characteristics from their genetic information (Genomes to Phenomes)” as well as “how organisms walk the tightrope between stability and change.”
- Define and predict the effects of climate change-related stressors (e.g., thermal, water/osmotic, infectious disease, and nutritional stresses) on the fitness of model and wild vertebrates in controlled and natural environments.
- Create multilevel mechanistic models that integrate existing and new data to predict responses by vertebrates to these climate change-related stressors.
- Provide educational training and research experience including field work from the undergraduate to the postdoctoral levels.
- Serve as the national hub for quantitative analyses and knowledge dissemination pertaining to the mechanisms of vertebrate responses to climate change.