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Why Ecological Studies in Mountain Regions?

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The slide deck for Dr. Christophe Randin's lecture to LAS students on LETS Day, 2 October 2015, just before they fanned out across the hillside for their research.

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Why Ecological Studies in Mountain Regions?

  1. 1. Why ecological studies in mountain regions? Dr. Christophe RANDIN Leysin, October 2 2015 - LAS
  2. 2. Variation of elevation = changes in climate condition = changes in species composition + diversity of habitats Photo: C.Randin Why are mountain ecosystems so important?
  3. 3. Elevation Photo: P. Vittoz and C.Randin
  4. 4. http://www.leysin-commune.ch Leysin 1350 m  Top of Tour d’Aï 2330 m Almost 1000 m vertical Forecasted temperature in Leysin (8-10 am) : 6.4 – 9.2 °C Temperature on the top of Tour d’Aï? 0.9 – 3.7 °C
  5. 5. Temperature shows similar trends with elevation and latitude (a) (b) ΔΤ of 10°C : Δlatitude = 1800 km ~ Δelevation = 2500 m Scandinavia Eastern Swiss Alps Harbritter et al., 2013
  6. 6. Why are mountain ecosystems so important? Mountains create their own climate! Photo: C. Randin
  7. 7. Photos: C.Randin Why are mountain ecosystems so important? Mountains are Islands in the Sky
  8. 8. Systems ± connected High endemism = Species Factories Cold adapted species Exposed to climate warming Why are mountain ecosystems so important? Mountains are Islands in the Sky
  9. 9. Why are mountain ecosystems so important? Photo: C.Randin &M. Wilhelm
  10. 10. http://www.leysin-commune.ch
  11. 11. Photo: C.Randin
  12. 12. Photo: C.Randin The treeline ecotone
  13. 13. Körner, C. & Paulsen, J. (2004) A world-wide study of high altitude treeline temperatures. Journal of Biogeography, 31, 713-732. Photo: C.Randin
  14. 14. Aeschimann D, Burdet H (1994) Flore de la Suisse et des territoires limitrophes, le nouveau Binz. 2ndedition, Editions du Griffon, Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Theurillat JP (1991) Les étages de végétation dans les Alpes centrales occidentales (Vegetationlevels in the western Central Alps). Saussurea, 22. 103-147.
  15. 15. Gran Sasso, Italy (42° N)Tromsø, Norway (70° N) Chimborazo, Equateur (0°) > 300 m a.s.l. > 2600 m a.s.l. > 4000 m a.s.l. Photos: C.Randin
  16. 16. Photo: C.Randin Stone pine on the Clochers d’Arpette – 2800 m
  17. 17. Predicted treeline shift for the XXIst century Actuelle: ~2250 m 2050: ~3500 m 2030: ~2700 m
  18. 18. Trees on the top of Mt Blanc? Photo: C.Randin
  19. 19. Photo: C.Randin Above the treeline?
  20. 20. Scherrer, D. & Koerner, C. (2010) Infra-red thermometry of alpine landscapes challenges climatic warming projections. Global Change Biology, 16, 2602-2613. Scherrer, D. & Korner, C. (2011) Topographically controlled thermal-habitat differentiation buffers alpine plant diversity against climate warming. Journal of Biogeography, 38, 406-416.
  21. 21. Forts contrastes de versant! 3. Le climat de l’étage alpin Körner, C. (2003) Alpine plant life, 2nd edn. Springer, Berlin. Photo: C.Randin
  22. 22. Topographic factors Photos: C.Randin
  23. 23. (Loiseleuria procumbens)
  24. 24. Photos: C.Randin
  25. 25. Körner, C. (2003) Alpine plant life, 2nd edn. Springer, Berlin.
  26. 26. (Salix reticulata) Photos: C.Randin & M.Wilhelm
  27. 27. Photo: C.RandinRebetez and Reinhard (2007) Theoretical and Applied Climatology The starting point (It’s Getting Hot In Here!) Château-d’Oex – Western Swiss Alps Northern hemisphere Temperature anomalies for the 20st century 1.5 Switzerland 1 0.5 0 -0.5 -1 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
  28. 28. Thank you for your attention!

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