SEGA is a new genetics-based research platform that allows scientists to quantify the ecological and evolutionary responses of species to changing climate conditions.

SEGA is creating a system of 10 core gardens in northern Arizona from desert to alpine forests. Moving down in elevation from site to site mimic climate change because temperature and moisture predictably change with elevation.

Illustration by Victor O. Leshykz:

By planting the same genotypes of plants in multiple gardens, SEGA enables a new generation of genetics-based climate change research.

Researchers from diverse disciplines can use SEGA to quantify the ecological and evolutionary impacts of climate change on foundation plant species, their associated communities,native-exotic species interactions, and the ecosystem processes that emerge from these interactions.

Because the this effort ultimately seeks to improve on-the-ground management, the SEGA gardens are sited on federal and private lands where stakeholders are anxious to incorporate the best science into management actions.

SEGA findings can be implemented and tested for their ability to improve land management outcomes. SEGA holds the potential to:

(1) provide a scientific basis for the concept of assisted migration;

(2) identify drought-tolerant genotypes and source populations that perform best at a given location for current and expected future climatic conditions and buffer against loss of ecosystem function; and

(3) develop techniques for managing exotic species that have become especially invasive with climate change.