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Future Climate Change Impacts On Biodiversity Notes

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ESD: Future Biodiversity responses to Climate Change Notes to discuss the potential biodiversity impacts of climate change, presenting the multiple ways in which species may respond and evidence of them already doing so. Contents:









The Risk of Anthropogenic Climate Change Climate Change impacts on Biodiversity Biodiversity Responses Range Shifts Phenological Change Physiological Change Extinction Risk Complexities

1. The Risk of Anthropogenic Climate Change Anthropogenic climate change is one of the major global threats to biodiversity (Parry et al, 2007) Hannah 2012) Climate change could become the greatest threat to biodiversity over the next few decades (surpassing habitat destruction)- Leadley et al, 2010 Global climate change may already be impacting species, but the observable signs might come too late to take effective action = Must act now to save species (Stanton et al, 2014) Oceans are predicted to warm and become more acid, resulting in widespread degradation of tropical coral reefs (Bellard et al 2012) To engage decision makers into biodiversity conservation, we must attach it to the 'dominating agenda' of climate change (Frangou et al, 2010) Feedbacks exist between temperature and biodiversity - e.g. Morin and Thuiller (2009) highlight that modelling changes in plant distributions/phenology is needed to predict future climate change Chepman et al 2014: research on CC as a threat to BD has grown, increased number of studies from 2000-2012, from ~20 to ~140 articles per year

Many scientists suggest we could enter the sixth great mass extinction (Maclean and Wilson, 2010)

2. Climate Change impacts on Biodiversity These notes will focus on the impacts of climate change on: range shifts, phenology, physiology and extinction. Other impacts include: Decreased genetic diversity - selection to respond to climate and rapid migration could reduce genetic diversity and impact ecosystems on a greater scale (Botkin et al, 2007) Generalist species will outperform specific and locally adapted ones (Bridle et al, 2013) Biome changes - Portions of the Amazon Rainforest could be replaced with tropical savannahs (Lapola et al, 2009), and tree lines will shift upwards Ocean acidification- resulting in destruction of coral reefs (Hoegh-Guldberg et al, 2007) Extinctions could occur as severe as those caused by habitat loss (Sodhi and Ehrlich, 2010)

3. Biodiversity Responses to Future Climate Change There are models of how anthropogenic climate change could impact biodiversity. Bellard et al, 2012: Presents the different scales at which biodiversity might be impacted by different aspects of climate change (expand the figure below)

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