Tuesday, August 3, 2010: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Blrm A, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Amy L. Angert
Lisa G. Crozier
Our symposium will ask what biological details should be considered to accurately predict how species’ distributions will shift in response to climate change. (How) does this differ between taxa, habitats, ecological roles, and regions? Species are rapidly responding to environmental change and predicting their responses is an ecological imperative. Since we can't study everything in great detail, how do we find the right balance between detail and generality?
The symposium will attempt to bridge between small-scale experimental studies where the biological details are thought to be crucial and broad-scale modeling efforts where the biological details are ignored. The proposed talks are the product of a joint NCEAS and NESCent working group on species range dynamics. The working group integrates expertise in disparate areas of biology and approaches ranging from experimental physiology to translocation experiments to informatic and theoretical analysis. We will report on our efforts to extend species’ distribution models to incorporate physiology and life history, ecology, and evolution.
The symposium will commence with an overview of what responses to past paleoclimate fluctuations tell us about how an organism’s biology determines its response to climate change. In the first of three integrated sections, we will discuss whether and how physiology and life history can inform predictions of species’ responses. Second, we will investigate how ecology- such as species interactions and dispersal limitations- influences species’ responses to climate change. Third, we will discuss how phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary responses may moderate species’ responses- an important but little understood aspect of climate change responses. We will end the symposium with a synthetic discussion of future directions for incorporating biological details in comprehensive and accurate predictions of species’ responses to climate change.
We intend the symposium to spur discussions that will guide the next generation of species’ distribution models. The symposium is particularly timely as much current literature discusses the limitations of the traditional correlative niche models, techniques are advancing to include more biological details in these range models, and mechanistic range models are emerging as an alternative. While much of the current debate is among modelers, we hope to involve additional researchers using empirical methods. Such discussions will be essential to producing accurate forecasts of how organisms, communities, and ecosystems will respond to climate change.
ESA Physiological Ecology Section