Special Issue "Biodiversity and Climate Change"
A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2010)
Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein (Website)
Department of Biogeography, University of Bayreuth, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany
Fax: +49 921552315
Interests: concepts of biodiversity; beta-diversity; biodiversity monitoring and sampling design; impacts of climate change on biodiversity; remote sensing in biodiversity research; scale dependency of biodiversity patterns
Biodiversity and Climate Change -
Interactions between Biodiversity and Extreme Events in Face of Climate Change
Climate change is considered to lead to severe impacts on biodiversity. This in turn is expected to be responded by restrictions on ecosystem functions and services. It is unclear to what degree in complex ecosystems will maintain ecosystem functioning under climate pressure. Especially single extreme climatic events may be followed by ecological effects far beyond their magnitude and duration. The timing of events and the sensitivity of species, populations and communities have to be considered. In addition to increased frequency of documented extremes, novel climatic events are likely to occur regionally. Then, the possibility to establish relationships and comparisons with historical developments is limited. This opens new research frontiers and stimulates theory as well as experiments. Due to the especially rapid changes within their natural scale of turnover, long-lived ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, or heathlands have to be given a certain priority in climate impact research. They are expected to be closer linked to long-term trends and averages than to occasional events. However, if thresholds are surpassed once, the consequences for the whole ecosystem may be tremendous. Here, biodiversity may serve as insurance against break down when single elements can not cope with novel conditions. Natural adaptation capacities and inertia towards adaptation have to be known at the community level. The contribution of functional and inventory diversity as well as the dissimilarity of contributing species (differentiation diversity) to the resilience capacity of communities are important research questions. Uncertainties can only be reduced when various approaches are applied and linked to the questions in focus. Advanced monitoring and remote sensing techniques, biodiversity and biogeographical modeling and ecosystem experiments are needed equally in order to supply a better basis for decision making.
Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein