Rob Dunn, Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University
Recent estimates of the magnitude of species’ range shifts, extinctions, and changes in ecosystem processes resulting from climatic change are alarming. Estimates of extinction rates and population losses attributable to climatic change are often based on studies of modeled biogeographic distributions, which rely on simple relationships between present-day distributions of species and climate variables to estimate distributions of species under future climate. Hundreds of papers using distribution models – based almost exclusively on relationships between plants and climate – have been published. The predictions of these models undergird conservation plans, are used to forecast the magnitude of future extinctions, and to leverage efforts to produce policies aimed at mitigating the effects of climatic change. Remarkably few experimental manipulations of the effects of climatic change, and in particular temperature change, have been conducted on animal populations and communities or on ecological processes dependent on their dynamics. This project builds upon the longest-running, largest scale forest warming experiment in the world to synthetically consider the effects of warming on diverse taxonomic and functional groups, from fungi and bacteria to herbivores and plant pathogens. The results represent the most ambitious attempt to understand how entire biotas change in response to warming conducted anywhere in the world to date.
See more information about this project as part of the Rob Dunn Lab Group.