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Organismal Response to Climate Change (ORCC)

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Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

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 growth, reproduction and fitness of individual organisms, the distribution of species over space and time, the integrity and the composition of natural communities, the yield of domesticated crops and animals, and the incidence and severity of pathogen outbreaks. Consequences such as these are already having major impacts on the US bioeconomy, the world’s food security, 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 understand adaptive and plastic capacity of species and to predict and to mitigate maladaptive biological responses to rapidly changing environments, thus facilitating the maintenance of species on a changing planet.

Most climate change studies to date have lacked integration between investigations of organismal mechanisms of response and eco-evolutionary approaches. This solicitation calls for proposals that integrate the study of organismal mechanisms of response to climate change (ORCC) with eco-evolutionary approaches to better predict and mitigate 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; understanding the mechanistic bases of plastic responses to climate change; functional genomics of organismal response to climate change; how biological interactions are affected by climate change; how biological interactions in turn affect organismal responses to climate change; and improving our ability to predict the limits of biological and global resilience as organisms face changing and novel climate conditions.

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 (eco-evolutionary) through which these traits originate, persist, and are transmitted across generations. Further, this solicitation encourages creative approaches to use the results of these foundational research investigations to develop use-inspired ways to address societal challenges in anticipating and managing 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 mechanisms of organismal response to climate change, that do not integrate organismal mechanistic insights with eco-evolutionary consequences above the level of the individual, or that do not describe a plan for use-inspired applications of foundational research, should be submitted to the "core" or special programs in IOS, OCE, 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.

Program contacts

Douglas Abbot
bio-orcc@nsf.gov (703) 292-4740
Irwin Forseth
bio-orcc@nsf.gov (703) 292-7862 BIO/IOS
Jayne Gardiner
bio-orcc@nsf.gov (703) 292-4828
Aardra Kachroo
bio-orcc@nsf.gov (703) 292-7826 BIO/IOS
Jeremiah W. Busch
bio-orcc@nsf.gov (703) 292-5168 BIO/DEB
Miriam A. Ashley-Ross
bio-orcc@nsf.gov (703) 292-4997 BIO/IOS

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