Navigation Links
Accelerating climate change exerts strong pressure on Europe's mountain flora
Date:4/20/2012

A pan-European study published in Science shows that mountain plants across the continent are moving to higher altitudes. This often results in raised species numbers on mountain tops, when colonizers from lower down start to dwell on the summits. This study, however, also shows that upward shifts can lead to a reduction in species richness. The paper is based on detailed surveys of 66 mountain summits distributed between the north of Europe and the southern Mediterranean Sea. An international research group, led by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna, mapped all plant species at each site in 2001 and 2008 using the same standardized procedures. The study was coordinated by Harald Pauli, Michael Gottfried, Stefan Dullinger and Georg Grabherr.

Increasing species numbers were only found on summits of northern and central Europe. By contrast, species numbers were stagnating or declining at nearly all sites in the Mediterranean region.

Harald Pauli from the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA) programme, which coordinated the study, said, "Our results showing a decline at the Mediterranean sites is worrying because these are the mountains with a very unique flora and a large proportion of their species occur only there and nowhere else on Earth".

On summits further north in Europe, more plant species are prospering. This could be taken to indicate that these are much safer sites for alpine flowers. Michael Gottfried from GLORIA's coordination team said, "I'm afraid that this is not necessarily the case because the newly appearing plants are predominantly more widespread species from lower elevations and will pose increasing competition pressure on the rarer cold-loving alpine flowers".

The uppermost tips of Mediterranean mountains are rather small patches of cold habitats, spread like islands over a sea of much warmer lowlands. Lowland areas and the mountains are exposed to a characteristic dry season in summer. In the higher altitudes, precipitation mainly falls as snow during winter and spring and snowmelt is crucial for water supply of mountain plants during the arid growing season.

Harald Pauli added, "The observed species losses were most pronounced on the lower summits, where plants are expected to suffer earlier from water deficiency than on the snowier high peaks. Climate warming and decreasing precipitation in the Mediterranean during the past decades fit well to the pattern of shrinking species occurrences. Additionally, much of the Mediterranean region is projected to become even dryer during the upcoming decades".

Georg Grabherr, chair of GLORIA, said, "Impacts of climate change, either through warming or combined with increased drought stress, are likely to threaten alpine plants not only on the continent, but even on the world-wide level. A number of mountain plants may resist or find colder substitute habitats somewhere in a rugged mountain terrain. Continued species monitoring will be vital for tracing ongoing ecological impacts on the diversity of alpine plant life".


'/>"/>

Contact: Harald Pauli
harald.pauli@univie.ac.at
43-699-108-74492
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. The rise in sea level of the Mediterranean is accelerating
2. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
3. White Mountain Research Station to host climate change conference
4. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
5. Severe climate change costs forecast for Pennsylvania, N.C., Tennessee, N.D.
6. Experts discuss climate change during UH lecture series
7. Dont blame cities for climate change, see them as solutions
8. Green coffee-growing practices buffer climate-change impacts
9. Brookhaven scientists take off for southeastern Pacific climate study
10. Himalaya -- Changing Landscapes photo exhibition draws attention to the impacts of climate change
11. British scientists go cloud-hopping in the Pacific to improve climate predictions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Accelerating climate change exerts strong pressure on Europe's mountain flora
(Date:2/21/2017)... N.Y. and PORTLAND, Ore. ... ) and the Avamere Family of Companies (Avamere Health ... today announced a six-month research study that will apply ... improve eldercare at senior living and health centers. By ... Avamere hopes to gain insights into physical and environmental ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... Feb. 13, 2017 Former 9/11 Commission border ... Committee, Janice Kephart of Identity Strategy Partners, ... Donald Trump,s "Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From ... 2017):  "As President Trump,s ,Travel Ban, Executive ... now essentially banned the travel ban, it is important ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... -- Report Highlights ... The global synthetic-biology market reached nearly $3.9 billion ... at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.0% through ... markets for synthetic biology. - Analyses of global market trends, ... compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2021. - Coverage of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/27/2017)... , February 27, 2017 A Europe-wide survey ... that researchers using animals in their research treat them with due ... countries, and detailed analysis of the results indicates that there is ... to put into practice the principles of the 3Rs ... ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. 27, 2017 ... Spain has been appointed as ... Biopsy System. The IsoFlux system will be used in ... mutations relevant to lung and colon cancer, with plans ... developed. The laboratory is utilizing Fluxion,s IsoFlux System to ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... A ... safely completed in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) with satisfactory clinical and patient-reported ... two-year TDR studies. , Jake Lubinski, president of AxioMed, commented on the ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Symic Bio, a biopharmaceutical company focused on ... therapeutics, announced today the completion of enrollment for the ... The trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of ... of restenosis following angioplasty. "We,re pleased ... said Nathan Bachtell , M.D., Chief Medical Officer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: