Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Safe havens revealed for biodiversity in a changed climate

Date:
January 13, 2014
Source:
Curtin University
Summary:
Researchers have found a way to project future habitat locations under climate change, identifying potential safe havens for threatened biodiversity.

Researchers have found a way to project future habitat locations under climate change, identifying potential safe havens for threatened biodiversity.

Associate Professor Grant Wardell-Johnson and Dr Gunnar Keppel from the Curtin University Institute for Biodiversity and Climate, along with lead researcher and former Curtin scientist Dr Tom Schut, now at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, developed an approach to identify potential refugia in declining rainfall environments.

For the first time, their novel approach, recently published in PLOS One and involving Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) instruments, is able to translate a traditional plot observation to the entire landscape.

Dr Wardell-Johnson said this enabled the team to apply expected future changes in rainfall to landscape-scale vegetation and find potential refugial sites, essential for conservation efforts.

"Global warming is a particular issue in Mediterranean-climate regions. It is especially so in the flat landscapes of south-western Australia -- home to a global biodiversity hotspot," Dr Wardell-Johnson said.

"South-western Australians have been living through the impacts of a drying climate for more than 40 years and are bracing for a continuing drier and warmer trend.

"Understanding where refugia will be is of particular importance in light of human-caused global warming, to offer the best chances for our precious flora and fauna in times of transformative change."

By using 4-metre x 4-metre plot-based data of vegetation profiles on and around granite outcrops across south-western Australia, the team were able to relate vegetation types to soil depth and rainfall. They found a very strong relationship between all three.

This finding meant the team could compare current climate and future climate under a continuing trend of reduced rainfall in the region.

Dr Wardell-Johnson said that very large shifts in vegetation structure were predicted and able to be mapped for future climates, with greatest changes expected to happen in the highest rainfall areas.

"We found it very likely that some refugia will be found in sites receiving greatest water run-off below granite outcrops, as well as areas where a reduction in rainfall is offset by deeper soil," Dr Wardell-Johnson said.

This research was funded by an Australian Research Council Grant and carried out in conjunction with the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife, the private industry partner AAM, The University of Western Australia, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Trent University in Canada.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Antonius G. T. Schut, Grant W. Wardell-Johnson, Colin J. Yates, Gunnar Keppel, Ireneusz Baran, Steven E. Franklin, Stephen D. Hopper, Kimberley P. Van Niel, Ladislav Mucina, Margaret Byrne. Rapid Characterisation of Vegetation Structure to Predict Refugia and Climate Change Impacts across a Global Biodiversity Hotspot. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (1): e82778 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082778

Cite This Page:

Curtin University. "Safe havens revealed for biodiversity in a changed climate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100625.htm>.
Curtin University. (2014, January 13). Safe havens revealed for biodiversity in a changed climate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100625.htm
Curtin University. "Safe havens revealed for biodiversity in a changed climate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100625.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) 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