Climate change poses multiple threats to biodiversity, and has already caused demonstrable impacts. We summarize key results from a recent national assessment of observed climate change impacts to terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems in the United States, and place results in the context of commonly articulated hypotheses about ecosystem response to climate change for global implications. Specific impacts we consider include: range shifts; phenological shifts; phenotypic changes; primary production changes; biological invasions; and novel communities. Significant effort has been made recently to incorporate adaptation measures into land and water management at both national and international scales, but the scale of impacts and associated uncertainties pose challenges to existing management institutions. Using commonly articulated hypotheses about climate change, biodiversity, and ecosystem response can provide context for informed decisions at multiple scales and can help to provide a clearer understanding of the ecological and mechanistic linkages between climate change and biodiversity.