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Lecture series in Ecology and Environmental Research WS 2015/16

Dr. Harald Pauli
Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation and Landscape Ecology Institute of Ecology and Conservation Biology University of Vienna (Homepage)
Thursday, 03.12.2015 12:00-13:30, H6, GEO

Past and recent changes in European alpine plant diversity: increases, declines, stagnations and accelerations driven by climate change

Climate change, warming and associated drought effects in particular, affect the species composition in low-temperature determined high mountain vegetation. A complex topography and thus high habitat diversity over short distances as well the persistence abilities of many alpine plant species may counter biodiversity losses caused by climate-driven species migrations. Revisitation studies in the late 20th century, nevertheless, mostly report on increasing species numbers on mountain tops, resulting from upward moving leading edges of species’ distribution margins. Repeated revisitations now show a marked acceleration of growing species richness on high mountain peaks. At the same time, the species composition shifts towards more thermophilous species numbers across Europe – a process which also tends to accelerate. Recent monitoring results of the central high Alps, however, show that rates of colonising species remained constant in the past decade, compared to the previous one, but the proportion of species not found again was rising. In parts of Europe’s mountains, the projected period or era of warming-driven biodiversity losses, thus, may already have commenced.


Invited by Cyrus Samimi, Climatology

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The BayCEER Colloquium serves as an interdisciplinary platform for students, academics and interested citizens: during the lecture period, guests and members of BayCEER give insights into their research, which can then be discussed in plenary and in a relaxed atmosphere during the post-colloquium.

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