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Climatic niche groups: A novel application of a common assumption predicting plant community response to climate change

  • Defining species by their climatic niche is the simple and intuitive principle underlying Bioclimatic Envelope Model (BEM) predictions for climate change effects. However, these correlative models are often criticised for neglecting many ecological processes. Here, we apply the same niche principle to entire communities within a medium/long-term climate manipulation study, where ecological processes are inherently included. In a nine generation study in Israel, we manipulated rainfall (Drought -30%; Irrigation +30%; Control natural rainfall) at two sites which differ chiefly in rainfall quantity and variability. We analysed community responses to the manipulations by grouping species based on their climatic rainfall niche. These responses were compared to analyses based on single species, total densities, and commonly used taxonomic groupings. Climate Niche Groups yielded clear and consistent results: within communities, those species distributed in drier regions performed relatively better in the drought treatment, and those fromDefining species by their climatic niche is the simple and intuitive principle underlying Bioclimatic Envelope Model (BEM) predictions for climate change effects. However, these correlative models are often criticised for neglecting many ecological processes. Here, we apply the same niche principle to entire communities within a medium/long-term climate manipulation study, where ecological processes are inherently included. In a nine generation study in Israel, we manipulated rainfall (Drought -30%; Irrigation +30%; Control natural rainfall) at two sites which differ chiefly in rainfall quantity and variability. We analysed community responses to the manipulations by grouping species based on their climatic rainfall niche. These responses were compared to analyses based on single species, total densities, and commonly used taxonomic groupings. Climate Niche Groups yielded clear and consistent results: within communities, those species distributed in drier regions performed relatively better in the drought treatment, and those from wetter climates performed better when irrigated. In contrast, analyses based on other principles revealed little insight into community dynamics. Notably, most relationships were weaker at the drier, more variable site, suggesting that enhanced adaptation to variability may buffer climate change impacts. We provide robust experimental evidence that using climatic niches commonly applied in BEMs is a valid approach for eliciting community changes in response to climate change. However, we also argue that additional empirical information needs to be gathered using experiments in situ to correctly assess community vulnerability. Climatic Niche Groups used in this way, may therefore provide a powerful tool and directional testing framework to generalise and compare climate change impacts across habitats. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Mark C. Bilton, Johannes Metz, Katja Tielboerger
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2016.02.006
ISSN:1433-8319
Parent Title (English):Perspectives in plant ecology, evolution and systematics
Publisher:Elsevier
Place of publication:Jena
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2016
Year of Completion:2016
Release Date:2020/03/22
Tag:Annual plant communities; Bioclimatic envelope modelling; Climate change manipulations; Experimental evidence; Plant functional groups; Rainfall niche
Volume:19
Page Number:9
First Page:61
Last Page:69
Funder:German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) [01LW0501, 01LW0501A1]; German Research Foundation (DFG) [TI338_12-1]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert