Predicting how climate change will influence the plants and animals with which we share our planet is one of the most challenging problems ecologists face. Climate is often assumed to be the dominant force governing species distributions, which leads to the prediction that all species will simply shift their ranges poleward and upward as the planet warms. Locally, plant communities should therefore lose cold-adapted species, while warm-adapted species increase in abundance. However, species differences in climate sensitivity, the impacts of species interactions, and unprecedented rates of climate change paired with limited dispersal and slow demography will add significant complexity to these simple predictions, as will many other factors. A major research goal of the Hille Ris Lambers lab is to explore these complexities using observations, experiments and modeling. In this talk, she will present some of her most recent work disentangling the many processes that will influence how coniferous forests and wildflower meadows at Mt. Rainier National Park and beyond will respond to climate change.
Dr. Janneke Hille Ris Lambers is the Walker Professor of Natural History in the Biology Department at University of Washington, Seattle. The Hille Ris Lambers lab uses field observations, manipulative experiments, citizen science, and statistical modeling to study the relationship between climate and species distributions in space (ranges) and time (phenology). Current study sites are in the Pacific Northwest (including Mt. Rainier and North Cascades National Park).
See http://faculty.washington.edu/jhrl/Index.html and www.meadowatch.org for more details.