Global Change Scenarios (global + change_scenario)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Inferring the past to predict the future: climate modelling predictions and phylogeography for the freshwater gastropod Radix balthica (Pulmonata, Basommatophora)

Abstract Understanding the impact of past climatic events on species may facilitate predictions of how species will respond to future climate change. To this end, we sampled populations of the common pond snail Radix balthica over the entire species range (northwestern Europe). Using a recently developed analytical framework that employs ecological niche modelling to obtain hypotheses that are subsequently tested with statistical phylogeography, we inferred the range dynamics of R. balthica over time. A Maxent modelling for present-day conditions was performed to infer the climate envelope for the species, and the modelled niche was used to hindcast climatically suitable range at the last glacial maximum (LGM) c. 21 000 years ago. Ecological niche modelling predicted two suitable areas at the LGM within the present species range. Phylogeographic model selection on a COI mitochondrial DNA data set confirmed that R. balthica most likely spread from these two disjunct refuges after the LGM. The match observed between the potential range of the species at the LGM given its present climatic requirements and the phylogeographically inferred refugial areas was a clear argument in favour of niche conservatism in R. balthica, thus allowing to predict the future range. The subsequent projection of the potential range under a global change scenario predicts a moderate pole-ward shift of the northern range limits, but a dramatic loss of areas currently occupied in France, western Great Britain and southern Germany. [source]

Herbivore control of annual grassland composition in current and future environments

Halton A. Peters
Abstract Selective consumption by herbivores influences the composition and structure of a range of plant communities. Anthropogenically driven global environmental changes, including increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), warming, increased precipitation, and increased N deposition, directly alter plant physiological properties, which may in turn modify herbivore consumption patterns. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that responses of annual grassland composition to global changes can be predicted exclusively from environmentally induced changes in the consumption patterns of a group of widespread herbivores, the terrestrial gastropods. This was done by: (1) assessing gastropod impacts on grassland composition under ambient conditions; (2) quantifying environmentally induced changes in gastropod feeding behaviour; (3) predicting how grassland composition would respond to global-change manipulations if influenced only by herbivore consumption preferences; and (4) comparing these predictions to observed responses of grassland community composition to simulated global changes. Gastropod herbivores consume nearly half of aboveground production in this system. Global changes induced species-specific changes in plant leaf characteristics, leading gastropods to alter the relative amounts of different plant types consumed. These changes in gastropod feeding preferences consistently explained global-change-induced responses of functional group abundance in an intact annual grassland exposed to simulated future environments. For four of the five global change scenarios, gastropod impacts explained > 50% of the quantitative changes, indicating that herbivore preferences can be a major driver of plant community responses to global changes. [source]

Elevated carbon dioxide and irrigation effects on water stable aggregates in a Sorghum field: a possible role for arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Matthias C. Rillig
Summary While soil biota and processes are becoming increasingly appreciated as important parameters for consideration in global change studies, the fundamental characteristic of soil structure is a neglected area of research. In a sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] field experiment in which CO2[supplied using free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) technology] was crossed factorially with an irrigation treatment, soil aggregate (1,2 mm) water stability increased in response to elevated CO2. Aggregate water stability was increased by 40% and 20% in response to CO2, at ample and limited water supply treatments, respectively. Soil hyphal lengths of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) increased strongly (with a threefold increase in the dry treatment) in response to CO2, and the concentrations of one fraction (easily extractable glomalin, EEG) of the AMF-produced protein glomalin were also increased. Two fractions of glomalin, and AMF hyphal lengths were all positively correlated with soil aggregate water stability. The present results further support the hypothesis that AMF can become important in global change scenarios. Although in this field study a causal relationship between hyphal length, glomalin and aggregate stability cannot be demonstrated, the present data do suggest that AMF could mediate changes in soil structure under elevated CO2. This could be of great importance in agricultural systems threatened by erosional soil loss. [source]

Assessing forest growth across southwestern Oregon under a range of current and future global change scenarios using a process model, 3-PG

N. C. Coops
Summary With improvements in mapping regional distributions of vegetation using satellite-derived information, there is an increasing interest in the assessment of current limitations on forest growth and in making projections of how productivity may be altered in response to changing climatic conditions and management policies. We utilised a simplified physiologically based process model (3-PG) across a 54 000 km2 mountainous region of southwestern Oregon, USA, to evaluate the degree to which maximum periodic mean annual increment (PAI) of forests could be predicted at a set of 448 forest inventory plots. The survey data were pooled into six broad forest types (coastal rain forest, interior coast range forest, mixed conifer, dry-site Douglas-fir, subalpine forest, and pine forest) and compared to the 3-PG predictions at a spatial resolution of 1 km2. We found good agreement (r2 = 0.84) between mean PAI values of forest productivity for the six forest types with those obtained from field surveys. With confidence at this broader level of integration, we then ran model simulations to evaluate the constraints imposed by (i) soil fertility under current climatic conditions, (ii) the effect of doubling monthly precipitation across the region, and (iii) a widely used climatic change scenario that involves modifications in monthly mean temperatures and precipitation, as well as a doubling in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. These analyses showed that optimum soil fertility would more than double growth, with the greatest response in the subalpine type and the least increase in the coastal rain forests. Doubling the precipitation increased productivity in the pine type (> 50%) with reduced responses elsewhere. The climate change scenario with doubled atmospheric CO2 increased growth by 50% on average across all forest types, primarily as a result of a projected 33% increase in photosynthetic capacity. This modelling exercise indicates that, at a regional scale, a general relationship exists between simulated maximum leaf area index and maximum aboveground growth, supporting the contention that satellite-derived estimates of leaf area index may be good measures of the potential productivity of temperate evergreen forests. [source]

Regional variability of climate,growth relationships in Pinus cembra high elevation forests in the Alps

Summary 1The tree-ring growth response of stone pine (Pinus cembra L.) to climatic variability was studied in the Alps. The aims were (i) to assess tree-ring growth patterns at different spatial-temporal scales; (ii) to identify the climate parameters that explain most of the variability in radial growth at different time domains; and (iii) to study past and current trends in radial growth and climate,growth relationships at different locations. 2High- and low-frequency stone pine chronologies were compiled for 30 treeline sites on the French and Italian Alps. We used gridded climate data computed from 200 years of instrumental records from an extensive Alpine network. Climate,growth relationships were computed with bootstrap correlation functions and their stationarity and consistency over time assessed with moving correlation. 3No spatial patterns were detected in stone pine chronology statistics despite the regional clustering observed in tree-ring series and climate responses. This can be attributed to (i) local weather variability; (ii) different biophysical conditions caused by soil moisture, solar radiation, snowmelt dynamics and growing season length; and (iii) forest stand history and age structure, the expression of long-term land use and disturbances. 4The exceptionally long-term climate records allowed significant stone pine growth response changes to be assessed at both annual and decadal time scales. Winter conditions and spring,summer temperatures mainly affected the growing season length, in addition to site carbon and water balance. Most of these limiting factors varied spatially and temporally along the latitudinal and longitudinal gradients in response to the corresponding changes in local conditions. 5Our results show evidence of a clear response variability of Pinus cembra to climate limiting factors, at both spatial and temporal scale. Such knowledge extended to other species and regions will provide better estimates of the effect of climate variability on species distribution and dynamics within global change scenarios and more accurate past climate reconstruction and forest ecosystem modelling. [source]

How Much Ecology Do We Need to Know to Restore Mediterranean Ecosystems?

Fernando Valladares
Abstract Despite important advances in ecological knowledge of Mediterranean-type ecosystems, advances in restoration ecology have not seen a parallel increase in these systems. Although some concepts such as positive plant,plant interaction (facilitation) have received attention in the restoration ecology community, others such as phenotypic plasticity have not. Some concepts (e.g., environmental heterogeneity) are mature enough for a wide use in restoration, whereas available knowledge on others (e.g., facilitation, plasticity) is less conclusive. However, the scientific knowledge is in general enough to significantly improve the guidelines for restoration of Mediterranean ecosystems. Our review suggests that (1) the extent of facilitation in dry ecosystems is partially understood, with supporting, but somewhat contradictory empirical evidence for its potential use in restoration; (2) the influence of habitat heterogeneity on plant performance and plasticity is only beginning to be understood, with a strong bias toward patterns of structural heterogeneity and negligible information on functional heterogeneity; and (3) sound evaluations of phenotypic plasticity might be useful to increase the success of restoration practices in patchy Mediterranean environments. Future global change scenarios involving temperature rise, reduced precipitation, increased frequency of extreme climatic events, and important land use changes and fragmentation must be particularly considered when restoring Mediterranean ecosystems. Further research on how to incorporate results on facilitation, environmental heterogeneity, and plasticity within a global change framework is clearly needed. [source]