Navigation Links
European mountain vegetation shows effects of warmer climate
Date:1/8/2012

The decade from 2000 to 2009 was the warmest since global climate has been measured, and while localized studies have shown evidence of changes in mountain plant communities that reflect this warming trend, no study has yet taken a continental-scale view of the situation until now.

With the publication of "Continent-wide response of mountain vegetation to climate change," scheduled for Advance Online Publication (AOP) in Nature Climate Change on 8 January, researchers from 13 countries report clear and statistically significant evidence of a continent-wide warming effect on mountain plant communities.

The findings are "clearly significant," says Ottar Michelsen, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and one of the article's co-authors. "You can find studies that have shown an effect locally, and where researchers try to say something more globally, but in this case, when you have so many mountains in so many regions and can show an effect, that's a big thing."

The article describes the results of a comprehensive effort to measure plant community changes in the mountains over the whole of Europe, with nearly a decade of time between the sampling efforts. Researchers looked at 60 summit sites and 867 vegetation samples from 17 mountain areas across Europe in 2001 and then revisited the mountain sample sites in 2008. In Norway, researchers studied mountain plots in the Dovre region of central Norway.

By comparing the vegetation found in the sample plots in 2001 and 2008, the researchers were able to see a clear shift in the species in the plots towards species that preferred warmer temperatures.

More specifically, the researchers assigned what they called an altitudinal rank to all 764 plant species included in the study. The rank reflects the temperature at which each species has its optimum performance. And because altitude and temperature are directly correlated in each mountain area (the higher your altitude in the mountains, in general, the colder it will be) the location on the mountain where a plant is found reflects its response to the actual temperature at that location.

By summing the altitudinal ranks for the species in the plots, the researchers then used a mathematical formula to give each plot a "thermic vegetation indicator". The indicator was calculated for each plot for 2001 and 2008, and the change in the indicator over the 7 years between sample periods showed researchers whether the mix of plants in each plot had stayed the same or shifted on average to plant types that preferred either colder or warmer temperatures. They then combined the data for the 17 mountain areas for the two time periods to get a continental-scale view of what kind of change, if any, might be underway.

"The transformation of plant communities on a continental scale within less than a decade can be considered a rapid ecosystem response to ongoing climate warming," the researchers wrote. "Although the signal is not statistically significant for single mountain regions, it is clearly significant when data throughout Europe are pooled."

The finding is significant both because the shift in plant communities could be clearly detected over time, but also because it suggests that plants adapted to colder temperatures that are now found in alpine plant communities will be subject to more competition, which "may lead to declines or even local disappearance of alpine plant species," the researchers note. "In fact, declines of extreme high-altitude species at their lower range margins have recently been observed in the Alps."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ottar Michelsen
ottar.michelsen@ntnu.no
47-735-98719
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. DTU is participating in a European network on measurement of greenhouse gases
2. Register now for the European Congress on Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis in Bordeaux
3. UK invests £75 million in European research infrastructure to support knowledge-based economy
4. EMBO awards Installation Grants to 7 European scientists
5. How does a plant survive with few mates or pollinators? A European herb has figured out its own way
6. New European project launched to address shortcomings in climate data
7. Misleading morphology: 3 European parasitoid wasp species are seasonal forms of just 1
8. Genomatix to partner in $41 million European epigenomics consortium
9. Pesticides pollute European waterbodies more than previously thought
10. Some like it hot -- European fish stocks changing with warming seas
11. European Congress on Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis opens online registration
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
European mountain vegetation shows effects of warmer climate
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today ... announcing that the server component of the HYPR platform ... for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users ... including manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... LOS ANGELES , March 30, 2017  On ... Hack the Genome hackathon at ... This exciting two-day competition will focus on developing health ... experience. Hack the Genome is ... has been tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... April 27, 2017  Pendant Biosciences, Inc. (formerly Nanoferix, ... modification and drug delivery technologies, today announced that it ... @ Toronto . ... Pendant Biosciences, noted, "We are excited to become part ... community, and are honored to be the first ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... LABS, Inc. (LABS) announced in December ... its extensive test menu: Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) for ZIKV; and Enzyme Immunoassays (EIAs) ... to offer NAT screening for blood donors under an Investigational New Drug (IND) study ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... 2017 , ... As part of the Stago EdVantage Virtual University ... DIC in order to illuminate this clinical problem for people unfamiliar with the topic. ... in a high degree of morbidity and mortality. DIC is a confusing disorder from ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... Los Gatos, California (PRWEB) , ... April 25, ... ... of business, Analytical Services and Metrology Partners.     , Covalent’s Analytical Services ... labs. Most samples can be measured within 24 hours of receipt. There are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: