Expanding Understanding and Improving Predictions of Life on a Warming Planet
The world is currently undergoing unprecedented changes in global climates across all biomes, with effects on nearly every life-form. How organisms respond to these rapidly changing conditions will have large consequences for the distribution of species over space and time, the integrity and the composition of natural communities, the distribution and the yield of domesticated crops and animals, and the incidence and the severity of pathogen outbreaks. Consequences such as these are already having major impacts on the world’s food security, the bioeconomy, and the ecosystem services provided by living systems to humans. Developing a comprehensive understanding of the mechanistic underpinnings of organismal response to climate change will improve our ability to predict and to mitigate maladaptive biological responses to rapidly changing environments and to facilitate organismal adaptation and persistence. Most climate change studies to date have lacked integration between the study of organismal mechanisms involved in the response to changing climates and eco-evolutionary approaches. This solicitation calls for proposals that integrate the study of genomic, physiological, structural, developmental, neural, or behavioral mechanisms of organismal response to climate change (ORCC) with eco-evolutionary approaches to better manage the effects of a rapidly changing climate on earth’s living systems. Specific areas of emphasis include but are not limited to: integrating physiology and genomics into the next generation of species distribution models; mechanistic understanding of plastic responses to climate change; functional genomics of organismal response to climate change; the role biological interactions play in organismal responses to climate change; and improving our ability to predict how organisms will respond to climate change and the consequences these responses will have across biological scales.
Proposals to the ORCC Solicitation are encouraged that build on NSF’s investment in growing convergence research by developing integrative, cross-disciplinary approaches that examine the organismal mechanisms that underlie adaptive and maladaptive responses to environmental factors associated with climate change, how these responses affect fitness in changing and/or novel climates, and the genetic and evolutionary processes through which these traits originate, persist, and are transmitted across generations. Further, this solicitation encourages creative approaches to translate results of these investigations to better predict and manage effects of climate change on organisms across spatial and temporal scales and biological hierarchies. Proposals that do not bridge disciplinary components, that lack a specific focus on organismal responses to climate change, that do not relate mechanistic insights to eco-evolutionary consequences above the level of the individual, and that could normally be submitted to the "core" or special programs in IOS or DEB are not appropriate for submission to this solicitation. Please contact a cognizant program officer if you have questions about where your planned proposal fits.