About the Climate Adaptation Science Centers

Map of Pacific Island region

    The Climate Adaptation Science Centers form a network of eight regional centers overseen and managed for the Department of the Interior (DOI) by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC). The mission of the Centers and NCASC is to "deliver science to help fish, wildlife, water, land, and people adapt to a changing climate." The goal is to work with natural and cultural resource managers to gather the scientific information and build the tools needed to help fish, wildlife, and ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change. To learn more about the CSC network, please visit:

About the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center and the Pacific Island region

Lush landscape from the mountains to the coastline

    The Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center (PI-CASC) spans the Pacific Basin from the Hawaiian Island archipelago to the US-affiliated islands of the South Pacific, encompassing a diverse range of ecosystems, landscapes, and cultures. Because of the vast ocean expanses between small, isolated emergent islands and atolls, Pacific island ecosystems often display unique characteristics, with often endangered species interacting with unusual land and seascapes. The Hawaiian Islands alone span climatic zones from arctic to tropical and have over 500 flora and fauna species listed in the Endangered Species Act.

    The ecological diversity of the Pacific region is rivalled only by its cultural diversity. Thriving indigenous cultures interact with other introduced cultures from across the Pacific and beyond. This diversity, woven into the fabric of every island in the Pacific, creates patchwork communities with significant potential adaptive capacity. In such an atmosphere, we aim to encourage and strengthen networks and collaborations between researchers, cultural practitioners, local managers, and stewards of natural and cultural resources, in an effort to discover the best methods to adapt to climate change impacts.

Waves batter and erode a low sandy cliffside     Islands of the Pacific Basin have been some of the first regions to witness the impacts of climate change. Shifts in rain belts, winds, storm tracks, and cloud cover lead to increasing temperatures and decreasing rain in many areas, causing serious, prolonged droughts. Changing marine conditions generate severe coral bleaching and die-off events, which can leave coastlines less protected from storms. Increasing global sea levels cause more frequent coastal and groundwater inundation. Salinization events in low-lying agricultural zones cause substantial risk to local food availability. These islands with their fragile, distinctive ecosystems require management and care based on the best available science combined with indigenous knowledge and traditions.

    Scientists, students, and managers collaborateThe vision for the PI-CASC is to develop science and other knowledge products and capabilities designed to support policy and management directed toward the sustainability of interconnected human and ecological communities and the conservation of species of concern in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands. Striving for sustainability means to respect, conserve, support, and build resources and communities now and for the future by identifying priorities of resource managers and community leaders to help generate usable actionable science that can be smoothly integrated into effective resource management in anticipation of likely future conditions.

    PI-CASC is hosted by a university consortium, led by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, in cooperation with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and the University of Guam, bringing the expertise of this university consortium to work with our Federal partners from the USGS. As one Center, these entities work together with a common goal of helping these island communities to become more resilient and adaptable to future changes. But critically, each element contributes its own unique expertise, derived from cooperation with different community networks, state and local government agencies, and international and non-governmental institutions. Diversity brought together in unity helps successfully drive our Center forward.

    Be sure to visit our Consortium partner websites at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and the University of Guam for more information about their unique endeavors contributing to our Center's efforts.