New Approaches in Spatial Plant Population Dynamics – Population Ecology Is Everywhere!
Thursday, August 14, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
313, Sacramento Convention Center
Yvonne M. Buckley, Trinity College Dublin
Anna Maria Csergo, The University of Queensland
Plants contribute directly and indirectly to biodiversity maintenance and we rely on plant populations for health, wealth and nutrition. However, we struggle to predict how plant populations will respond to climate change, invasions and land-use change. We need to better understand how abiotic and biotic drivers impact on plant population dynamics. Models combining changes in habitat suitability with population dynamics to predict responses to climate change are an important step forward from predictions of habitat suitability alone. However, these models require a better understanding of the link between population dynamics and the underlying environmental drivers. We will start with a broad overview of what we know about spatial population dynamics and identify gaps and opportunities for future research. We will then outline different approaches for obtaining population responses to environmental drivers and their limitations: e.g. use of altitudinal gradients, spatial demography at range edges, experimental demography and observational demography over broad regional or continental scales. We will outline new modeling approaches that can be combined with observational or experimental data including linked SDM and population models and spatial Integral Projection Models. The session will finish with a proposal for distributed observational and experimental population dynamics studies across model taxa to accelerate recent progress in the development of observational, experimental and modeling methods. The discussion will focus on how best to extend current approaches and what is needed to develop new approaches to understanding and applying spatial plant population dynamics from regional to global scales.