Rapid Climate Change and Species Range Shifts: Observations, Predictions, and Management

Thursday, August 8, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Auditorium, Rm 3, Minneapolis Convention Center
Alejandro Ordonez, Aarhus University
John W. Williams, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Jacquelyn L. Gill, University of Maine
Jacquelyn L. Gill, University of Maine
Predicting how populations, species, and communities will, and have, responded to changes in climate has become an extremely active field of research. As evidence for climate-driven alterations in ecological systems and evolutionary processes accumulates, assessing the response times of populations and species relative to the projected rates of climate velocity, and the effects of species interactions and dispersal limitations on community dynamics, are essential to evaluating the effects of future climate change on biodiversity and developing effective management strategies. Species are often characterized generally as responding to climate change in one of three ways: Organisms respond to changing climatic conditions by shifting their ranges (e.g.., changes in elevation and latitude), adapting in situ to the new environmental conditions via plasticity in life history strategies (i.e., trait plasticity, phenological adaptation), or exhibiting rapid evolutionary responses (i.e., adaptive micro-evolutionary changes). The reality, of course, is more complex: species responses to climate change are governed by population demographics, generation times, rates of dispersal, species interactions, sensitivity to multiple climatic factors, etc.; all of which act synergistically, and therefore should be evaluated in combination. This symposium will provide a synthetic overview of how species have responded to past and current periods of rapid climatic change, evaluate how these changes are driven by species climatic niche responses in space (e.g. climate tracking), life-history (e.g. trait plasticity and phenological adaptation), and evolution (e.g. micro-evolutionary changes); how these changes have affected community composition, and the array of management strategies available to mitigate the impact of climate change impact. The backbone of the symposium is the idea that under changing climatic conditions, individuals, populations or species must produce adaptive responses to persist, or be aided by human intervention. The proposed speakers and talks are arranged around this idea, providing an overview of the responses to changing climatic conditions through niche tracking, phenotypic plasticity and/or evolutionary responses; and presenting the tools available for managers to mitigate the impacts of fast changing climatic conditions. For this, we structure the symposium along four response axes: 1) Range-distribution adjustment (past and present) 2) Functional-evolutionary adaptation via ecological, biological or micro-evolutionary responses 3) Community changes 4) Mitigation strategies These axes correspond to the main response mechanisms (natural and human mediated) allowing species to adapt so they can keep up with the rapid pace of changing climate.
Paleoecology section, Applied Ecology Section
2:30 PM
 Realizing the niche: Species interactions drive biotic responses to climate change
Mark C. Urban, University of Connecticut; Phoebe L. Zarnetske, Michigan State University; David K. Skelly, Yale University; Emily Baczyk, Choate High School
3:00 PM
3:10 PM
 Niche syndromes, species extinction risks and management under climate change
Dov F. Sax, Brown University; Regan Early, University of Exeter, Cornwall; Jesse Bellemare, Smith College
3:40 PM
 What biology matters for forecasting species’ response to environmental change?
Lauren B. Buckley, University of Washington; Joel Kingsolver, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Cesar R. Nufio, University of Colorado
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