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Ecology and the ratchet of events: climate variability, niche dimensions, and species distributions

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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Abstract

Climate change in the coming centuries will be characterized by interannual, decadal, and multidecadal fluctuations superimposed on anthropogenic trends. Predicting ecological and biogeographic responses to these changes constitutes an immense challenge for ecologists. Perspectives from climatic and ecological history indicate that responses will be laden with contingencies, resulting from episodic climatic events interacting with demographic and colonization events. This effect is compounded by the dependency of environmental sensitivity upon life-stage for many species. Climate variables often used in empirical niche models may become decoupled from the proximal variables that directly influence individuals and populations. Greater predictive capacity, and more-fundamental ecological and biogeographic understanding, will come from integration of correlational niche modeling with mechanistic niche modeling, dynamic ecological modeling, targeted experiments, and systematic observations of past and present patterns and dynamics.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Ecology and the ratchet of events: climate variability, niche dimensions, and species distributions
Series title:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume
106
Issue:
S2
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Branch of Regional Research-Western Region
Description:
8 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
First page:
19685
Last page:
19692