Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Paleoecologists Offer New Insight Into How Climate Change Will Affect Organisms

Date:
November 5, 2009
Source:
Lehigh University
Summary:
New research examines some of the potential problems with current prediction methods and calls for the use of a range of approaches when predicting the impact of climate change on organisms. The study uses examples from recent paleoecological studies to highlight how climate variability of the past has affected the distributions of tree species, and even how events that occurred many centuries ago still shape present-day distributions patterns.

An article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences written by a team of ecologists, including Robert Booth, assistant professor of earth and environmental science at Lehigh University, examines some of the potential problems with current prediction methods and calls for the use of a range of approaches when predicting the impact of climate change on organisms.

According to Booth and his colleagues, one of the biggest challenges facing ecologists today is trying to predict how climate change will impact the distribution of organisms in the future. Combining the environmental conditions that allow a particular species to exist with the output from climate models is a commonly used approach to determining where these conditions will exist in the future. However, according to the authors, there some potential problems with the correlational approach that ecologists have traditionally used.

"This traditional prediction approach on its own is insufficient," said Booth. "It needs to be integrated with mechanistic and dynamic ecological modeling and systematic observations of past and present patterns and dynamics."

The paper uses examples from recent paleoecological studies to highlight how climate variability of the past has affected the distributions of tree species, and even how events that occurred many centuries ago still shape present-day distributions patterns. For example, the authors note that some populations of a Western US tree species owe their existence to brief periods of favorable climatic conditions allowing colonization in the past, such as a particularly wet interval during the 14th century.

"The climate system varies at all ecologically relevant time scales," said Booth. "We see differences year to year, decade to decade, century to century and millennia to millennia. When trying to understand how species and populations will respond to changing climate, it's not just changes in the mean climate state that need to be considered, but also changes in variability "

The article was written by Stephen Jackson of the Department of Botany and Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming, Julio Betancourt of the U.S. Geological Survey in Arizona, Robert Booth of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Lehigh University, and Stephen Gray of the Wyoming Water Resources Data System and Wyoming State Climate Office of the University of Wyoming. It was published on Sept. 23, 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lehigh University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lehigh University. "Paleoecologists Offer New Insight Into How Climate Change Will Affect Organisms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104111725.htm>.
Lehigh University. (2009, November 5). Paleoecologists Offer New Insight Into How Climate Change Will Affect Organisms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104111725.htm
Lehigh University. "Paleoecologists Offer New Insight Into How Climate Change Will Affect Organisms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104111725.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) — As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

AP (July 18, 2014) — Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. Speaking at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Aldrin described what he was thinking right before the historic walk. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins