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:4/17/2017)... , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. ... company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form ... Exchange Commission. ... Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of the ... on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... report to their offering. ... global eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% ... Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market ... landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the launch ... dynamic digital window into the human cell. The website ... deep learning to create predictive models of cell organization, ... suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer will ... resources created and shared by the Allen Institute for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... 22, 2017 , ... AESKU.GROUP, an innovation leader in ... Technologien GmbH, thereby expanding its product portfolio to include allergy and food intolerance ... atopic eczema or a food allergy. Allergies are escalating to epidemic proportions and ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The first human cell line HeLa, established in 1951, has ... cross-contamination of human cell lines with HeLa cells were published. Until recently, cross-contamination and ... and is associated with dramatic consequences for research. , In this educational webinar, ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... ... Biologist Dawn Maslar MS has found a biomarker that she claims verifies ... The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love, Maslar found ... step, in my estimation, was to scientifically track the evidence of commitment in men,” ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... June 20, 2017 , ... Do More with OHAUS , With the ... trusted supplier in the weighing industry, to extending its expertise across the entire laboratory ... immunoassays, hybridizations and more, allowing for its customers to 'Do More' in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: