Potential effects of climate change on the distribution range of the main silicate sinker of the Southern Ocean.
ABSTRACT: Fragilariopsis kerguelensis, a dominant diatom species throughout the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, is coined to be one of the main drivers of the biological silicate pump. Here, we study the distribution of this important species and expected consequences of climate change upon it, using correlative species distribution modeling and publicly available presence-only data. As experience with SDM is scarce for marine phytoplankton, this also serves as a pilot study for this organism group. We used the maximum entropy method to calculate distribution models for the diatom F. kerguelensis based on yearly and monthly environmental data (sea surface temperature, salinity, nitrate and silicate concentrations). Observation data were harvested from GBIF and the Global Diatom Database, and for further analyses also from the Hustedt Diatom Collection (BRM). The models were projected on current yearly and seasonal environmental data to study current distribution and its seasonality. Furthermore, we projected the seasonal model on future environmental data obtained from climate models for the year 2100. Projected on current yearly averaged environmental data, all models showed similar distribution patterns for F. kerguelensis. The monthly model showed seasonality, for example, a shift of the southern distribution boundary toward the north in the winter. Projections on future scenarios resulted in a moderately to negligibly shrinking distribution area and a change in seasonality. We found a substantial bias in the publicly available observation datasets, which could be reduced by additional observation records we obtained from the Hustedt Diatom Collection. Present-day distribution patterns inferred from the models coincided well with background knowledge and previous reports about F. kerguelensis distribution, showing that maximum entropy-based distribution models are suitable to map distribution patterns for oceanic planktonic organisms. Our scenario projections indicate moderate effects of climate change upon the biogeography of F. kerguelensis.
Project description:The North Atlantic is characterized by diatom-dominated spring blooms that results in significant transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels and the deep ocean. These blooms are terminated by limiting silicate concentrations in summer. Numerous regional studies have demonstrated phytoplankton community shifts to lightly-silicified diatoms and non-silicifying plankton at the onset of silicate limitation. However, to understand basin-scale patterns in ecosystem and climate dynamics, nutrient inventories must be examined over sufficient temporal and spatial scales. Here we show, from a new comprehensive compilation of data from the subpolar Atlantic Ocean, clear evidence of a marked pre-bloom silicate decline of 1.5-2?µM throughout the winter mixed layer during the last 25 years. This silicate decrease is primarily attributed to natural multi-decadal variability through decreased winter convection depths since the mid-1990s, a weakening and retraction of the subpolar gyre and an associated increased influence of nutrient-poor water of subtropical origin. Reduced Arctic silicate import and the projected hemispheric-scale climate change-induced weakening of vertical mixing may have acted to amplify the recent decline. These marked fluctuations in pre-bloom silicate inventories will likely have important consequences for the spatial and temporal extent of diatom blooms, thus impacting ecosystem productivity and ocean-atmosphere climate dynamics.
Project description:Diatoms constitute a major group of phytoplankton, accounting for ~20% of the world's primary production. It has been shown that iron (Fe) can be the limiting factor for phytoplankton growth, in particular, in the HNLC (High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll) regions. Iron plays thus an essential role in governing the marine primary productivity and the efficiency of biological carbon pump. Oceanic systems are undergoing continuous modifications at varying rates and magnitudes as a result of changing climate. The objective of our research is to evaluate how changing environmental conditions (dust deposition, ocean warming and acidification) can affect marine Fe biogeochemistry and diatom growth. Laboratory culture experiments using a marine diatom Chaetoceros socialis were conducted at two temperatures (13°C and 18°C) and under two pCO2 (carbon dioxide partial pressure) (400 ?atm and 800 ?atm) conditions. The present study clearly highlights the effect of ocean acidification on enhancing the release of Fe upon dust deposition. Our results also confirm that being a potential source of Fe, dust provides in addition a readily utilizable source of macronutrients such as dissolved phosphate (PO4) and silicate (DSi). However, elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations may also have an adverse impact on diatom growth, causing a decrease in cell size and possible further changes in phytoplankton composition. Meanwhile, ocean warming may lead to the reduction of diatom production and cell size, inducing poleward shifts in the biogeographic distribution of diatoms. The changing climate has thus a significant implication for ocean phytoplankton growth, cell size and primary productivity, phytoplankton distribution and community composition, and carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), silicon (Si) and Fe biogeochemical cycles in various ways.
Project description:The fate of Northern peatlands under climate change is important because of their contribution to global carbon (C) storage. Peatlands are maintained via greater plant productivity (especially of Sphagnum species) than decomposition, and the processes involved are strongly mediated by climate. Although some studies predict that warming will relax constraints on decomposition, leading to decreased C sequestration, others predict increases in productivity and thus increases in C sequestration. We explored the lack of congruence between these predictions using single-species and integrated species distribution models as proxies for understanding the environmental correlates of North American Sphagnum peatland occurrence and how projected changes to the environment might influence these peatlands under climate change. Using Maximum entropy and BIOMOD modelling platforms, we generated single and integrated species distribution models for four common Sphagnum species in North America under current climate and a 2050 climate scenario projected by three general circulation models. We evaluated the environmental correlates of the models and explored the disparities in niche breadth, niche overlap, and climate suitability among current and future models. The models consistently show that Sphagnum peatland distribution is influenced by the balance between soil moisture deficit and temperature of the driest quarter-year. The models identify the east and west coasts of North America as the core climate space for Sphagnum peatland distribution. The models show that, at least in the immediate future, the area of suitable climate for Sphagnum peatland could expand. This result suggests that projected warming would be balanced effectively by the anticipated increase in precipitation, which would increase Sphagnum productivity.
Project description:Climate change can profoundly alter species' distributions due to changes in temperature, precipitation, or seasonality. Migratory monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) may be particularly susceptible to climate-driven changes in host plant abundance or reduced overwintering habitat. For example, climate change may significantly reduce the availability of overwintering habitat by restricting the amount of area with suitable microclimate conditions. However, potential effects of climate change on monarch northward migrations remain largely unknown, particularly with respect to their milkweed (Asclepias spp.) host plants. Given that monarchs largely depend on the genus Asclepias as larval host plants, the effects of climate change on monarch northward migrations will most likely be mediated by climate change effects on Asclepias. Here, I used MaxEnt species distribution modeling to assess potential changes in Asclepias and monarch distributions under moderate and severe climate change scenarios. First, Asclepias distributions were projected to extend northward throughout much of Canada despite considerable variability in the environmental drivers of each individual species. Second, Asclepias distributions were an important predictor of current monarch distributions, indicating that monarchs may be constrained as much by the availability of Asclepias host plants as environmental variables per se. Accordingly, modeling future distributions of monarchs, and indeed any tightly coupled plant-insect system, should incorporate the effects of climate change on host plant distributions. Finally, MaxEnt predictions of Asclepias and monarch distributions were remarkably consistent among general circulation models. Nearly all models predicted that the current monarch summer breeding range will become slightly less suitable for Asclepias and monarchs in the future. Asclepias, and consequently monarchs, should therefore undergo expanded northern range limits in summer months while encountering reduced habitat suitability throughout the northern migration.
Project description:With the impending threat of climate change, greater understanding of patterns of species distributions and richness and the environmental factors driving them are required for effective conservation efforts. Species distribution models enable us to not only estimate geographic extents of species and subsequent patterns of species richness, but also generate hypotheses regarding environmental factors determining these spatial patterns. Projected changes in climate can then be used to predict future patterns of species distributions and richness. We created distribution models for most of the flightless ground beetles (Carabidae) within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of Australia, a major component of regionally endemic invertebrates. Forty-three species were modelled and the environmental correlates of these distributions and resultant patterns of species richness were examined. Flightless ground beetles generally inhabit upland areas characterised by stable, cool and wet environmental conditions. These distribution and richness patterns are best explained using the time-stability hypothesis as this group's primary habitat, upland rainforest, is considered to be the most stable regional habitat. Projected changes in distributions indicate that as upward shifts in distributions occur, species currently confined to lower and drier mountain ranges will be more vulnerable to climate change impacts than those restricted to the highest and wettest mountains. Distribution models under projected future climate change suggest that there will be reductions in range size, population size and species richness under all emission scenarios. Eighty-eight per cent of species modelled are predicted to decline in population size by over 80%, for the most severe emission scenario by the year 2080. These results suggest that flightless ground beetles are among the most vulnerable taxa to climate change impacts so far investigated in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. These findings have dramatic implications for all other flightless insect taxa and the future biodiversity of this region.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common cause of community acquired pneumonia and bacteremia. Excess wintertime mortality related to pneumonia has been noted for over a century, but the seasonality of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) has been described relatively recently and is poorly understood. Improved understanding of environmental influence on disease seasonality has taken on new urgency due to global climate change. METHODS: We evaluated 602 cases of IPD reported in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, from 2002 to 2007. Poisson regression models incorporating seasonal smoothers were used to identify associations between weekly weather patterns and case counts. Associations between acute (day-to-day) environmental fluctuations and IPD occurrence were evaluated using a case-crossover approach. Effect modification across age and sex strata was explored, and meta-regression models were created using stratum-specific estimates for effect. RESULTS: IPD incidence was greatest in the wintertime, and spectral decomposition revealed a peak at 51.0 weeks, consistent with annual periodicity. After adjustment for seasonality, yearly increases in reporting, and temperature, weekly incidence was found to be associated with clear-sky UV index (IRR per unit increase in index: 0.70 [95% CI 0.54-0.91]). The effect of UV index was highest among young strata and decreased with age. At shorter time scales, only an association with increases in ambient sulphur oxides was linked to disease risk (OR for highest tertile of exposure 0.75, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.93). CONCLUSION: We confirmed the wintertime predominance of IPD in a major urban center. The major predictor of IPD in Philadelphia is extended periods of low UV radiation, which may explain observed wintertime seasonality. The mechanism of action of diminished light exposure on disease occurrence may be due to direct effects on pathogen survival or host immune function via altered 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin-D metabolism. These findings may suggest less diminution in future IPD risk with climate change than would be expected if wintertime seasonality was driven by temperature.
Project description:Global climate is rapidly changing and while many studies have investigated the potential impacts of this on the distribution of montane plant species and communities, few have focused on those with oceanic montane affinities. In Europe, highly sensitive bryophyte species reach their optimum occurrence, highest diversity and abundance in the north-west hyperoceanic regions, while a number of montane vascular plant species occur here at the edge of their range. This study evaluates the potential impact of climate change on the distribution of these species and assesses the implications for EU Habitats Directive-protected oceanic montane plant communities. We applied an ensemble of species distribution modelling techniques, using atlas data of 30 vascular plant and bryophyte species, to calculate range changes under projected future climate change. The future effectiveness of the protected area network to conserve these species was evaluated using gap analysis. We found that the majority of these montane species are projected to lose suitable climate space, primarily at lower altitudes, or that areas of suitable climate will principally shift northwards. In particular, rare oceanic montane bryophytes have poor dispersal capacity and are likely to be especially vulnerable to contractions in their current climate space. Significantly different projected range change responses were found between 1) oceanic montane bryophytes and vascular plants; 2) species belonging to different montane plant communities; 3) species categorised according to different biomes and eastern limit classifications. The inclusion of topographical variables in addition to climate, significantly improved the statistical and spatial performance of models. The current protected area network is projected to become less effective, especially for specialised arctic-montane species, posing a challenge to conserving oceanic montane plant communities. Conservation management plans need significantly greater focus on potential climate change impacts, including models with higher-resolution species distribution and environmental data, to aid these communities' long-term survival.
Project description:Forest conservation strategies and plans can be unsuccessful if the new habitat conditions determined by climate change are not considered. Our work aims at investigating the likelihood of future suitability, distribution and diversity for some common European forest species under the projected changes in climate, focusing on Southern Europe. We combine an Ensemble Platform for Species Distribution Models (SDMs) to five Global Circulation Models (GCMs) driven by two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), to produce maps of future climate-driven habitat suitability for ten categories of forest species and two time horizons. For each forest category and time horizon, ten maps of future distribution (5 GCMs by 2 RCPs) are thus combined in a single suitability map supplied with information about the "likelihood" adopting the IPCC terminology based on consensus among projections. Then, the statistical significance of spatially aggregated changes in forest composition at local and regional level is analyzed. Finally, we discuss the importance, among SDMs, that environmental predictors seem to have in influencing forest distribution. Future impacts of climate change appear to be diversified across forest categories. A strong change in forest regional distribution and local diversity is projected to take place, as some forest categories will find more suitable conditions in previously unsuitable locations, while for other categories the same new conditions will become less suited. A decrease in species diversity is projected in most of the area, with Alpine region showing the potentiality to become a refuge for species migration.
Project description:A wide range of infectious diseases may change their geographic range, seasonality and incidence due to climate change, but there is limited research exploring health vulnerabilities to climate change. In order to address this gap, pan-European vulnerability indices were developed for 2035 and 2055, based upon the definition vulnerability = impact/adaptive capacity. Future impacts were projected based upon changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, whilst adaptive capacity was developed from the results of a previous pan-European study. The results were plotted via ArcGISTM to EU regional (NUTS2) levels for 2035 and 2055 and ranked according to quintiles. The models demonstrate regional variations with respect to projected climate-related infectious disease challenges that they will face, and with respect to projected vulnerabilities after accounting for regional adaptive capacities. Regions with higher adaptive capacities, such as in Scandinavia and central Europe, will likely be better able to offset any climate change impacts and are thus generally less vulnerable than areas with lower adaptive capacities. The indices developed here provide public health planners with information to guide prioritisation of activities aimed at strengthening regional preparedness for the health impacts of climate change. There are, however, many limitations and uncertainties when modeling health vulnerabilities. To further advance the field, the importance of variables such as coping capacity and governance should be better accounted for, and there is the need to systematically collect and analyse the interlinkages between the numerous and ever-expanding environmental, socioeconomic, demographic and epidemiologic datasets so as to promote the public health capacity to detect, forecast, and prepare for the health threats due to climate change.
Project description:Climate change is affecting the growth, phenology, and distribution of species across northeastern United States. In response to these changes, some species have been adversely impacted while others have benefited. One species that has benefited from climate change, historically and in response to experimental treatments, is common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), a widely distributed annual weed and a leading cause of hay fever in North America. To better understand how climate change may affect the distribution of common ragweed, we built a maximum entropy (Maxent) predictive model using climate and bioclimatic data and over 700 observations across the eastern U.S. Our model performed well with an AUC score of 0.765 using four uncorrelated variables, including precipitation seasonality, mean diurnal temperature range, August precipitation, and January maximum temperature. After building and testing our model, we then projected potential future common ragweed distribution using a suite of 13 global climate models (GCMs) under two future greenhouse gas scenarios for mid and late-century. In addition to providing georeferenced hot spots of potential future expansion, we also provide a metric of confidence by evaluating the number of GCMs that agree. We show a substantial contraction of common ragweed in central Florida, southern Appalachian Mountains, and northeastern Virginia and areas of potential expansion at the northern margins of its current distribution, notably in northeastern U.S. However, the vast majority of this increase is projected to occur by mid-century and may be moderated somewhat by the 2070s, implying that common ragweed may be sensitive to climatic variability. Although other factors and modeling approaches should be explored, we offer preliminary insight into where common ragweed might be a new concern in the future. Due to the health impacts of ragweed, local weed control boards may be well advised to monitor areas of expansion and potentially increase eradication efforts.