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Thursday, January 30 2020
10:55am
Room 1005, Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB), 950 Atlantic Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332
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Understanding Species Responses to Climate Change: The Role of Population and Community Ecology

Jonathan Levine
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Princeton University

ABSTRACT
In the talk, I will illustrate the importance of basic population and community ecology for understanding and predicting how changing species interactions influence ecosystem responses to climate change. First, I will present field experiments showing how the novel competitive interactions that emerge when species shift their ranges to track warming climate, but do at different rates, strongly determine the fate of alpine plant populations in the Swiss Alps.  I will then discuss how we can predict the identity of species engaging in these novel competitive interactions in the future. To this end, I will present experiments with a model plant species suggesting that rapid evolutionary changes can influence the rate at which plant populations spread, complicating efforts to forecast species range dynamics based on their current demography. Finally, I will explore if we can predict the outcome of novel competitive interactions under climate change without having to conduct countless experiments. To do, I will use plant functional traits to predict the drivers of competition between annual plant species in California grasslands. I will conclude by arguing for the interconnected nature of basic ecological research and that motivated by the need to solve pressing environmental challenges.  

Host: Lin Jiang, Ph.D.  

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