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Climate change effects on an endemic-rich edaphic flora: resurveying Robert H. Whittaker's Siskiyou sites (Oregon, USA)

Ecology

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1890/09-1057.1

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Abstract

Species with relatively narrow niches, such as plants restricted (endemic) to particular soils, may be especially vulnerable to extinction under a changing climate due to the enhanced difficulty they face in migrating to suitable new sites. To test for community-level effects of climate change, and to compare such effects in a highly endemic-rich flora on unproductive serpentine soils vs. the flora of normal (diorite) soils, in 2007 we resampled as closely as possible 108 sites originally studied by ecologist Robert H. Whittaker from 1949 to 1951 in the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon, USA. We found sharp declines in herb cover and richness on both serpentine and diorite soils. Declines were strongest in species of northern biogeographic affinity, species endemic to the region (in serpentine communities only), and species endemic to serpentine soils. Consistent with climatic warming, herb communities have shifted from 1949-1951 to 2007 to more closely resemble communities found on xeric (warm, dry) south-facing slopes. The changes found in the Siskiyou herb flora suggest that biotas rich in narrowly distributed endemics may be particularly susceptible to the effects of a warming climate.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Climate change effects on an endemic-rich edaphic flora: resurveying Robert H. Whittaker's Siskiyou sites (Oregon, USA)
Series title:
Ecology
DOI:
10.1890/09-1057.1
Volume
91
Issue:
12
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Publisher:
Ecological Society of America
Publisher location:
Ithaca, NY
Contributing office(s):
National Wetlands Research Center
Description:
11 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ecology
First page:
3609
Last page:
3619
Number of Pages:
10
Country:
United States
State:
Oregon