Special Issue "Biological Implications of Climate Change"
A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2012)
Prof. Lesley Hughes
Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, 2109, Australia
Global biological systems face unprecedented challenges from rapid human-induced climate change. Many species and communities are already degraded and stressed from other anthropogenic impacts, and climate change is expected to interact with, and in some cases, exacerbate these stresses. Further, the rapid rate of anticipated change will exceed the capacity of many species to either undergo genetic change, or to shift to more suitable habitat. Many species around the globe are already responding to the climatic changes experienced over the past few decades, with evidence of changes in life cycles, distributions, and populations. Cascading effects on species interactions, community structure and ecosystem function are also being documented at an accelerating rate. This special issue will focus on climate change as a current and future pervasive driver of change for the life support systems of the planet.
Prof. Lesley Hughes
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Biology is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.
- adaptive capacity
Biology 2012, 1(2), 411-438; doi:10.3390/biology1020411
Received: 23 July 2012; in revised form: 30 August 2012 / Accepted: 4 September 2012 / Published: 13 September 2012| Download PDF Full-text (251 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Review: Climate Change, Sea-Level Rise and Implications for Coastal and Estuarine Shoreline Management with Particular Reference to the Ecology of Intertidal Benthic Macrofauna in NW Europe
Biology 2012, 1(3), 597-616; doi:10.3390/biology1030597
Received: 3 September 2012; in revised form: 11 October 2012 / Accepted: 31 October 2012 / Published: 5 November 2012| Download PDF Full-text (244 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Biology 2012, 1(3), 617-638; doi:10.3390/biology1030617
Received: 24 August 2012; in revised form: 28 September 2012 / Accepted: 31 October 2012 / Published: 6 November 2012| Download PDF Full-text (761 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Biology 2012, 1(3), 639-657; doi:10.3390/biology1030639
Received: 3 September 2012; in revised form: 26 October 2012 / Accepted: 6 November 2012 / Published: 14 November 2012| Download PDF Full-text (330 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Article: Will Climate Change, Genetic and Demographic Variation or Rat Predation Pose the Greatest Risk for Persistence of an Altitudinally Distributed Island Endemic?
Biology 2012, 1(3), 736-765; doi:10.3390/biology1030736
Received: 3 September 2012; in revised form: 29 October 2012 / Accepted: 16 November 2012 / Published: 23 November 2012| Download PDF Full-text (802 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Article: Using Natural Gradients to Infer a Potential Response to Climate Change: An Example on the Reproductive Performance of Dactylis Glomerata L.
Biology 2012, 1(3), 857-868; doi:10.3390/biology1030857
Received: 19 November 2012; in revised form: 5 December 2012 / Accepted: 6 December 2012 / Published: 13 December 2012| Download PDF Full-text (223 KB) | Download XML Full-text |
Article: Climate Predictions Accelerate Decline for Threatened Macrozamia Cycads from Queensland, Australia
Biology 2012, 1(3), 880-894; doi:10.3390/biology1030880
Received: 3 October 2012; in revised form: 26 November 2012 / Accepted: 7 December 2012 / Published: 14 December 2012| Download PDF Full-text (671 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Article: Climate Change Impacts on the Tree of Life: Changes in Phylogenetic Diversity Illustrated for Acropora Corals
Biology 2012, 1(3), 906-932; doi:10.3390/biology1030906
Received: 19 September 2012; in revised form: 10 December 2012 / Accepted: 10 December 2012 / Published: 14 December 2012| Download PDF Full-text (519 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Article: Linking Eco-Energetics and Eco-Hydrology to Select Sites for the Assisted Colonization of Australia’s Rarest Reptile
Biology 2013, 2(1), 1-25; doi:10.3390/biology2010001
Received: 29 September 2012; in revised form: 22 November 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012| Download PDF Full-text (940 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Review: Drought, Deluge and Declines: The Impact of Precipitation Extremes on Amphibians in a Changing Climate
Biology 2013, 2(1), 399-418; doi:10.3390/biology2010399
Received: 9 February 2013; in revised form: 28 February 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 11 March 2013| Download PDF Full-text (382 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Biology 2013, 2(1), 445-480; doi:10.3390/biology2010445
Received: 4 January 2013; in revised form: 25 February 2013 / Accepted: 25 February 2013 / Published: 19 March 2013| Download PDF Full-text (323 KB)
Article: Nonindigenous Plant Advantage in Native and Exotic Australian Grasses under Experimental Drought, Warming, and Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment
Biology 2013, 2(2), 481-513; doi:10.3390/biology2020481
Received: 8 February 2013; in revised form: 11 February 2013 / Accepted: 25 February 2013 / Published: 27 March 2013| Download PDF Full-text (911 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Biology 2013, 2(2), 651-692; doi:10.3390/biology2020651
Received: 11 February 2013; in revised form: 11 February 2013 / Accepted: 25 February 2013 / Published: 2 April 2013| Download PDF Full-text (422 KB) | Download XML Full-text
Article: A Deeper Statistical Examination of Arrival Dates of Migratory Breeding Birds in Relation to Global Climate Change
Biology 2013, 2(2), 742-754; doi:10.3390/biology2020742
Received: 22 November 2012; in revised form: 9 April 2013 / Accepted: 10 April 2013 / Published: 26 April 2013| Download PDF Full-text (251 KB) | Download XML Full-text
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Predicting Current and Future Potential Habitat of a Threatened Foundation Species
Authors: D. Ikeda, K. Ironside and N Cobb
Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Geospatial Research and Information Laboratory, and Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA; E-Mail: Neil.Cobb@nau.edu
Abstract: The Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens) is a threatened fossorial mammal that is considered a foundation species. Due to its presumed sensitivity to climate change and poorly understood habitat requirements, we developed a spatially explicit model of suitable habitat. Using the species distribution model algorithm Maxent, coupled with five general circulation models (GCMs) and one ensemble forecast, we identified present-day areas for potential translocation and predicted potential suitable habitat range shifts for three future time periods. Three major patterns emerged: 1) Climatic variables alone were excellent predictors of suitable habitat, suggesting high sensitivity to climate change; 2) The Utah prairie dog is only occupying 3% of suitable habitat, supporting the view that plague and humans have greatly reduced populations, but indicating the potential for translocation opportunities; 3) All GCMs predicted modest increases in suitable habitat between 2010-2039 with declines starting in 2040, and by the end of the century virtually all suitable habitats will be outside the range of natural dispersal. Even if extinction does not occur, the species could lose at least 96% of current suitable habitat by the end of the century without human-assisted migration to future suitable climates. While our models suggest that there is at least 30 years before the negative effects of climate change impact this species, serious challenges to its survival are predicted, necessitating actions to reverse these effects.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Using Natural Gradients to Infer a Potential Response to Climate Change: an Example on the Reproductive Performance of Dactylis Glomerata
Author: Matteo Dainese
Affiliation: Department of Land and Agro-forest Environments, University of Padova, Italy; E-Mail: email@example.com
Abstract: An understanding of the climate conditions governing spatial variation in reproductive performance of plants can provide important information about the factors characterizing plant community structure and influencing fitness in natural plant populations, especially in the context of climate warming. Few studies, however, have investigated the potential effect of warming on the reproductive output of plants. This study focuses on the effect of climate on sexual reproductive output of Dactylis glomerata L., a perennial grass species widely distributed throughout temperate regions. An indirect space-for-time substitution procedure was used by surveying different populations of the same target species along an elevation gradient and using the existing climatic differences to infer a potential response to climate change over time. Thus, I quantified the shape and strength of relationships between reproductive performance and a range of environmental variables.
Type of Paper: Review
Title: Implications of Climate Change for the Tree of Life
Authors: Daniel P. Faith and Zoe T. Richards
Affiliation: The Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (D.P.F.); Zoe.Richards@austmus.gov.au (Z.T. R.)
Abstract: The possible loss of whole branches from the tree of life is a dramatic, but under-studied, biological implication of climate change. The tree of life represents an evolutionary heritage providing both present and future benefits to humanity, often in unanticipated ways. Losses in this evolutionary (evo) life-support system represent losses in “evosystem” services, and are quantified using the phylogenetic diversity (PD) measure. High species-level biodiversity losses may or may not correspond to high PD losses. If climate change impacts are clumped on the phylogeny, then loss of deeper phylogenetic branches can mean disproportionately large PD loss for a given degree of species loss. Over time, successive species extinctions within a clade each may imply only a moderate loss of PD, until the last species within that clade goes extinct, and PD drops precipitously. Emerging methods of “phylogenetic risk analysis” address such phylogenetic tipping points by adjusting conservation priorities to better reflect risk of such worst-case losses. We have further developed and explored this approach for one of the most threatened taxonomic groups, corals. Based on a phylogenetic tree for the genus Acropora, we identify cases where possible PD tipping points may be avoided by designing risk-averse conservation priorities.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Evidence of Population-level Climatic Adaptation and Differential Responses to Extreme, Climate Change-type Drought in Two Invasive and Native Grasses
Authors: Robert Godfree1, Bruce Robertson and David Marshall
Affiliation: CSIRO Plant Industry, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT, Australia 2902, Australia; E-Mail: Robert.Godfree@csiro.au
Abstract: Predicting the response of plant species to the increased frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events expected under climate change remains a central challenge in ecology. One area of particular uncertainty is the relative capacity of invasive and native species to persist in the face of a deteriorating climate through adaptive differentiation of populations or phenotypic plasticity in growth or reproductive traits. In this study we compare the growth and productivity of four sympatric populations of two closely related stipoid grasses, the highly invasive Nassella neesiana and the native Austrostipa bigeniculata, when placed under experimental atmospheric warming (+ 2°C), CO2 enrichment (550 ppm), and drought. Both species occupy similar climatic ranges in southeastern Australia and the populations were collected from along a xeric-mesic climatic cline. Our data show that while growth and productivity of N. neesiana far exceeded that of A. bigeniculata, the latter species responded more strongly to enhanced winter temperatures. Both species were strongly negatively affected by extreme drought conditions; enrichment of atmospheric CO2 partially, but not entirely, offset these losses. Of the two species Nassella neesiana displayed the highest level of inter-population quantitative genetic variability, but a lower level of variability within populations. However, this did not appear to be obviously linked to selection for climate-related traits, but instead the impact of historical population bottlenecks near the edge of the species range. These results suggest that although invasive species may exhibit more rapid growth and higher fitness that co-occuring native species, newly established populations could also be at a comparative evolutionary disadvantage due to the impact of founder effects on genetic diversity.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Linking Dynamic Energy Budget Theory and Hydrology to Select Sites for the Assisted Colonisation of Australia's Rarest Reptile.
Authors: Nicola Mitchell 1, Matthew Hipsey 2, Michael Kearney 3, Sophie Arnall 1, Gavan McGrath 2 and Gerald Kuchling 4
Affiliations: 1 School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
2 School of Earth and Environment, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia, 3 Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia, 4 Department of Environment and Conservation, Swan Coastal District, Wanneroo WA 6065, Australia; E-Mail: email@example.com
Abstract: Assisted colonisation (the deliberate movement of species to climatically suitable regions) is a controversial management tool that aims to prevent the extinction of populations that are unable to migrate in response to climate change. The identification of suitable translocation sites is therefore a pressing issue, but correlative climate-envelope models, which are based on occurrence data, are of limited use for species with historically restricted distributions. In contrast, mechanistic models hold considerable promise for site selection. We are integrating ecoenergetic and hydrological models to assess the longer-term suitability of the current habitat of the world's rarest chelonian, the Western Swamp Tortoise (Psuedemydura umbrina). P. umbrina is naturally restricted to a single breeding population in the south west of Western Australia, where a relatively rapid decline in seasonal winter rainfall has resulted in shorter hydroperiods and reduced foraging and breeding opportunities for tortoises. Our coupled model allows us to drive the dynamic energy budget of the tortoise based on hydrological projections of its current habitat, and the process can be repeated across a range of future climates. The same model is also a powerful tool for identifying novel habitats where tortoises could persist under future climates. Here we present a preliminary screening model of suitable translocation sites for P. umbrina and in so doing demonstrate an approach for guiding the assisted colonisation of other threatened wetland species.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Cumulative Effects of Climate Warming and Eutrophication on the Habitat-forming Rockweed Ascophyllum nodosum
Authors: L. Kay, A. L. Schmidt and H. K. Lotze
Affiliation: Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2 Canada; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Abstract: Perennial seaweeds, such as Ascophyllum nodosum, are dominant primary producers and foundation species along rocky shores worldwide and play important roles in storing carbon, cycling nutrients and providing habitat and food for a diverse community of associated fauna and flora. Rockweed is also economically important with harvests increasing in recent decades. Yet, the response of rockweed to current and predicted increases in nutrient loading and sea surface temperature in coastal waters is not well understood. We designed a laboratory experiment to test the effects of four nutrient enrichment levels and three temperatures on rockweed growth, nitrogen retention and carbon storage. Rockweed growth slowed at higher temperatures whereas nutrient enrichment directly enhanced growth at low temperatures yet promoted epiphyte growth at higher temperatures. Tissue nitrogen increased with nutrient enrichment, while there was no effect on tissue carbon. Our results show that the effects of nutrient loading and climate warming on rockweed are cumulative with potentially negative ecological and economic consequences today and in the future.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: The Impacts of Global Warming on a Coastal Sea
Authors: Catharina J.M. Philippart and Eric H.G. Epping
Affiliation: Department of Marine Ecology, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg (Texel), The Netherlands; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: The Wadden Sea is one of the largest coastal seas in the world, characterized by extensive wetlands, high biotic production, and valuable recreational and commercial fisheries. Throughout its history, several drivers (e.g., large infrastructural works, eutrophication, fisheries , pollutants, and invasive species) have changed the functioning of the Wadden Sea ecosystem during. Since the mid-1980s, the annual water temperatures are rising with an average rate of approximately +0,3 °C y-1 (1988-2010). This warming has already affected crucial aspects of the coastal ecosystem, such as a decline in the recruitment success of various bivalve species and an increase in biodiversity of the macrozoobenthos. Recent climate scenarios for this area predict a continuation of the rise in temperature, ranging between +2°C and +6°C. This further warming may lead to major changes in the present balance between tidal and subtidal areas, between autotrophy and heterotrophy, between pelagic and benthic production, and between the import and export of energy and matter.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Host Plant Limitation Masks the Importance of Climate at the Edge of a Species’ Range
Authors: Derrick Parker and Jessica J. Hellmann
Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556 USA; E-Mail: Derrick.J.Parker.email@example.com (D.P.); firstname.lastname@example.org (J.J.H.)
Abstract: Shifts in species ranges are expected in response to global climate change, because climate is thought to set the poleward range boundary for many species. Factors such as species interaction, however, may dominate over climate or interact with climate to at the edge of a species’ range, and these will affect range shifts. Yet, examples of species interactions constraining range boundaries and thus range expansion are relatively rare in the literature. Here, we investigate the role of both climate and host plant limitation in setting the poleward range limit of a specialist butterfly (Erynnis propertius), and we explore implications for range shifts in this species and the efficacy of interventions to promote a shift in its range. The range limit of the butterfly co-occurs with its host plant, suggesting that host availability is a key limiting factor. Translocation experiments, however, reveal winter conditions beyond the host range that significantly reduce butterfly fitness compared to within-range conditions. Performance was comparable in the two regions over the summer growing period. These results suggest that conspicuous biotic constraints can mask climate at range boundaries and hinder climate-driven range expansion. If warming increases winter fitness outside the current range, natural or artificial colonization of host plants will be necessary for butterfly range expansion.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: A Deeper Statistical Examination of Bird Arrival Dates in Detecting Climate Change
Author: W. Herbert Wilson, Jr.
Affiliation: Department of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, USA; E-Mail: email@example.com
Abstract: A rich literature has arisen in the past 20 years to show that the average spring arrival dates of migratory breeding birds is occurring earlier for many species, consistent with the warming of the earth due to climate change. Using an 18-year record of arrival dates for Maine birds, I show that the statistical distribution of arrival dates is correlated with springtime weather; effects on kurtosis and skewness are greater in early springs. The magnitude of the variance in arrival date is related to distance of migration, to trophic level, and to the importance of endogenous control of migration.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change Impacts in Mangroves of Cameroon, Central Africa
Authors: Joanna C. Ellison 1 and Isabella Zouh 2
Affiliations: 1 School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 78, Hobart 7001, Australia
2 Ministry of Environment and the Protection of Nature, MINEP, PB 320 Yaoundé, Cameroon; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Intertidal mangrove ecosystems are sensitive to climate change impacts, particularly to associated relative sea level rise. Human stressors and low tidal range potentially add to vulnerability, both characteristics of the Doula Estuary, Cameroon. To investigate this vulnerability, spatial techniques were combined with ground surveys to map distributions of mangrove zones, and compare with historical spatial records to quantify change over the last few decades. Low technology techniques were used to establish the tidal range and relative elevation of the mapped mangrove area. Stratigraphic coring and palaeobiological reconstruction were used to show the longer term biological history of mangroves and net sedimentation rate, and oral history surveys of local communities were used to provide evidence of recent change and identify possible causes. Results showed that the seaward edge of mangroves had over two thirds of the shoreline experienced dieback at up to 3 m per year over the last 3 decades, and an offshore mangrove island had suffered 89% loss. Results also showed low net sedimentation rates under seaward edge mangroves, and restricted intertidal elevation habitats of all mangroves, and Avicennia and Laguncularia in particular. To reduce vulnerability, adaptation planning can be improved by reducing the non-climate stressors on the mangrove area, particularly those resulting from human impacts. Other priorities for adaptation planning in mangrove areas that are located in such low tidal range regions are to plan inland migration areas and strategic protected areas for mangroves, and to undertake management activities that enhance accretion within the mangroves.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Will climate change, genetic and demographic variation or rat predation pose the greatest risk for persistence of an attitudinally distributed island endemic?
Authors: Laura Simmons, Tony Auld, Ian Hutton, William Baker and Alison Shapcott
Affiliations: 1 Faculty of Science Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
2 Climate Change Science, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (New South Wales), Hurstville, Australia PO Box 157, Lord Howe Island, Australia
3 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK; E-Mail: email@example.com
Abstract: Species endemic to mountains on oceanic islands are subject to number of existing threats (in particular, exotic species) along with the impacts of a rapidly changing climate. The Lord Howe Island endemic palm, Hedyscepe canterburyana, is restricted to two mountains and predation by the introduced Black Rat (Rattus rattus) is known to significantly reduce seedling recruitment. We examined the variation in Hedyscepe, in terms of genetic variation, morphology, reproductive output and demographic structure, across a climatic (altitudinal) gradient. We used the demographic data to model population persistence under climate change predictions of upward range contraction along with varying degrees of rat predation, incorporating long-term climatic records for Lord Howe Island. We confirmed that Lord Howe Island is getting warmer and drier and quantified the degree of temperature change with altitude. Differences in development rates, population structure, reproductive output and population growth rate between altitudes were identified. In contrast, genetic variation was high and did not vary with altitude. Some results contrasted with expectations: there is no evidence of an upward range contraction but populations of the species are predicted to slowly decline under ongoing rat predation. Removal of rat predation would significantly enhance future persistence.
Type of Paper: Article
Title: The Vulnerability of Threatened Species: Adaptive Capability versus Adaptation Opportunity
Authors: P. Berry 1, Y. Ogawa-Onishi 1,2 and A. McVey 3
Affiliations: 1 Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, OUCE, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Center for Social and Environmental Systems Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8506 Japan
3 WWF-UK, Panda House, Weyside Park, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1XR, UK
Abstract: Global targets to halt the loss of biodiversity have not been met and there is a new Aichi target of preventing the extinction of known threatened species and improving their conservation status. Climate change is increasingly needing to be factored in to these and thus there is a need to identify the extent to which it could increase species vulnerability. This paper uses the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity framework to assess the vulnerability of a selection of WWF global priority large mammals and marine species to climate change. However, it divides adaptive capacity into adaptive capability and adaptation opportunity, in order to identify whether adaptation is more constrained by the biology of the species or by its environmental setting. Lack of evidence makes it difficult to apply the framework consistently across the species, but it was found that, particularly for the terrestrial mammals, adaptation opportunity seems to be the greater constraint. This framework and analysis could be used by conservationists and those wishing to enhance the resilience of species to climate change.
Last update: 25 September 2012