SiS Impacts Of Climate Change On Australian Biodiversity Beaumont 2007

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Scientists in Schools Program - Presentations from the Energy and Climate Change Symposium

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  • SiS Impacts Of Climate Change On Australian Biodiversity Beaumont 2007

    1. 1. The Heat is ON: Impacts of climate change in Australia’s biodiversity Linda Beaumont Macquarie University
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>What is happening with climate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we care? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will changes in climate have impacts on species? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses have occurred so far? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses could occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What research methods do we use to determine future responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What conservation initiatives can we undertake? </li></ul><ul><li>Science in Schools </li></ul>
    3. 3. Climate changes so far… (IPCC, 2007) <ul><li>Temperature increase 0.74⁰C </li></ul><ul><li>Precipitation trends: highly variable spatially & temporally </li></ul>
    4. 4. In Australia from 1910 to 2004: <ul><li>Average min temp rose 0.6°C </li></ul>Average max temp rose 1.2°C 1950-2005: Southern & eastern Australia have become drier
    5. 5. What lies ahead: 2030 CSIRO 2007 Precipitation best estimate: little change in far north, decreases of 2-10% elsewhere Temperature best estimate: 0.7°C annual warming
    6. 6. Outline <ul><li>What is happening with climate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we care? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will changes in climate have impacts on species? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses have occurred so far? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses could occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What research methods do we use to determine future responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What conservation initiatives can we undertake? </li></ul><ul><li>Science in Schools </li></ul>
    7. 7. Why do ecosystems matter?
    8. 8. Ecosystem Services & Functions Supporting Services: primary production, provision of habitat, nutrient cycling, production of oxygen, water cycling Regulating Services: pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, natural hazard protection, erosion control Marketable Products: wood, fuel, fish, pharmaceuticals, tourism & recreation Cultural Services: Spiritual & religious values, education, asthetic values Human well-being Global Changes Climate Biochemical cycles Land use Species Introduction
    9. 9. The Money Tree <ul><li>What are ecosystem services & functions worth? </li></ul>(Costanza et al ., 1997) $18-54,000,000,000,000 per year Global GNP: $18,000,000,000,000 per year
    10. 10. Outline <ul><li>What is happening with climate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we care? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will changes in climate have impacts on species? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses have occurred so far? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses could occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What research methods do we use to determine future responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What conservation initiatives can we undertake? </li></ul><ul><li>Science in Schools </li></ul>
    11. 11. Impacts of temperature on organisms <ul><li>Metabolic processes controlled by enzymes </li></ul><ul><li>Functioning of enzymes influenced by temperature </li></ul><ul><li>Below 0⁰C ice crystals may form in cells, above 45⁰C proteins may denature </li></ul>Temperature influences the development of species
    12. 12. As temperature increases … <ul><li>Flowering occurs earlier Development rate increases </li></ul>Photosynthesis, transpiration, respiration increase Johns et al. 2003 Pei-Ling et al., 2006 BUT… Hi Temp Low Temp Temperature
    13. 13. Each species has an optimal range Temperature Survival Optimal Just surviving Dead Just surviving Dead
    14. 14. Short, medium & long term responses of plants to climate
    15. 15. Climate plays a pivotal role in the distribution of species <ul><li>Major types of vegetation occur at similar latitudes & altitudes on different continents. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Paleoecology <ul><li>Expansion & contraction of glaciers in NH resulted in southward & northward migration of vegetation </li></ul>Current 11,000ya 13,000ya 15,000ya
    17. 17. Why will climate change impact species? <ul><li>↑ mean temperature will lead to ↑ extremes </li></ul>
    18. 18. Carbon Dioxide <ul><li>Photosynthesis = energy from the sun is used to combine CO 2 + water to produce sugars and oxygen </li></ul><ul><li>Stomata: CO 2 entry, water loss </li></ul>http://www.schoolhousevideo.org/Media/leafwithlabels.jpg <ul><li>Rate depends on light, water, CO 2 , temp </li></ul><ul><li>Increase CO 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Increase growth </li></ul>
    19. 19. Direct impacts of CO 2 <ul><li>Species respond differently </li></ul><ul><li>Growth potential may not be realised if water or nutrients limit growth </li></ul><ul><li>Interactions between CO 2 , temperature & precipitation </li></ul><ul><li>Are benefits short-term? </li></ul>http://www.co2science.org/scripts/
    20. 20. Indirect impacts of CO 2 <ul><li>Greater accumulation of carbohydrates may change C:N ratio. </li></ul><ul><li>Herbivores need nitrogen </li></ul><ul><li>Eat more? Or grow slower? </li></ul>
    21. 21. Species & communities will be affected 1. Directly: - Temperature - Rainfall - CO 2 - Extreme events 2. Indirectly: - Interactions with other species
    22. 22. Outline <ul><li>What is happening with climate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we care? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will changes in climate have impacts on species? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses have occurred so far? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses could occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What research methods do we use to determine future responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What conservation initiatives can we undertake? </li></ul><ul><li>Science in Schools </li></ul>
    23. 23. Hypotheses: <ul><li>Some species will tolerate climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Timing of spring events will be more likely to advance than be delayed </li></ul><ul><li>Species ranges will be more likely to shift poleward or upwards in elevation than move towards the equator </li></ul>Pei-Ling et al., 2006 Temperature
    24. 24. What responses have occurred so far? (IPCC 2007)
    25. 25. Types of responses to climate change: <ul><li>Phenotypic: adjust behaviour, morphology, physiology </li></ul><ul><li>Spring events advanced by 2.3 days/decade (Parmesan & Yohe, 2003) </li></ul>Root et al., 2003
    26. 26. Breeding grounds: Arrival -3.1 days/decade Depart +8.1 days/decade Winter grounds: Arrival -5.3 days/decade Depart -7.8 days/decade Changes in migration of Australian birds: 1960-2005 Beaumont et al 2006
    27. 27. Types of responses to climate change: <ul><li>Range shifts </li></ul><ul><li>Parmesan & Yohe (2003) meta-analysis found 6.1km per decade shift polewards </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas et al ., (2006): up to ~90km since 1970 & ~ 212m in elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Range shifts occurred among plants, birds, insects, reptiles </li></ul>
    28. 28. Rainforest expansion Coral bleaching Snow-gum expansion Saltwater intrusion into freshwater swamps Alpine: feral animals Islands: plant colonisation, bird & seal population increases
    29. 29. Outline <ul><li>What is happening with climate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we care? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will changes in climate have impacts on species? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses have occurred so far? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses could occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What research methods do we use to determine future responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What conservation initiatives can we undertake? </li></ul><ul><li>Science in Schools </li></ul>
    30. 30. Future impacts Kakadu: Salt water intrusion, displacement of freshwater wetlands QLD Wet Tropics: Extinctions of many endemics, deterioration of reefs Murray-Darling Basin: Reduced water supply, threats to freshwater wetlands, reduced habitat for migratory birds SW WA: Range reductions, fragmentation for endemic plants & crops Alpine zone: loss of plant & animal species, increase in shrubs Migratory birds: More overwintering, residency
    31. 31. Winners <ul><li>Short generation times </li></ul><ul><li>Good dispersal </li></ul><ul><li>Broad climatic tolerances </li></ul><ul><li>Generalists </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunists </li></ul>
    32. 32. Losers <ul><li>Long generation times </li></ul><ul><li>Poorly dispersed </li></ul><ul><li>Narrow climatic tolerances </li></ul><ul><li>Specialists </li></ul><ul><li>Isolated populations </li></ul><ul><li>Genetically impoverished </li></ul>
    33. 33. 99%of the Australian continent < 1000m Limited scope for altitudinal migration as climate zones shift
    34. 34. How far would a species have to move to stay in the same climate it is in today? 300m 400m 500m 600m 700m 800m For every 1°C increase in average yearly temperature it would have to shift: ~ 100m uphill or ~ 125km south 200m
    35. 35. Soils <ul><li>eg. 10-400 ppm P is common </li></ul><ul><li>(cf >500 ppm for N. Hemi </li></ul><ul><li>High proportion of sandy and saline soils </li></ul><ul><li>Very infertile by N.Hemi standards </li></ul>http://www.gu.edu.au/ins/collections/webb/html/11-90.html Implications: elevated CO 2 can have “fertilisation effects” BUT: only if other factors are not limiting 700 ppm 350 ppm capacity for Australian vegetation to respond to elevated CO 2 may be limited
    36. 36. <ul><li>Vegetation in all but wettest areas very fire-prone </li></ul><ul><li>5% of land surface burnt each year (up to 50% in north ) </li></ul>Fire <ul><li>Future fire regimes affected by: </li></ul><ul><li>Temperature </li></ul><ul><li>Rainfall </li></ul><ul><li>Fuel loads (CO 2 ) </li></ul>(Hennessy et al. 2005) Increased frequency & intensity e.g. extreme fire days 10-40% by 2020
    37. 37. Human Occupation <ul><li>Long history of human habituation (>60,000) </li></ul><ul><li>High degree of habitat fragmentation since European settlement </li></ul>Migration with climate zones difficult for many species
    38. 38. Migration potential <ul><li>How fast do species need to migrate? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any barriers to dispersal? </li></ul><ul><li>Current and future habitats may decrease in size due to climate and land-use changes </li></ul>http://www.science.smith.edu/stopoverbirds/Chapter1_intro.html
    39. 39. Direct impacts to humans: Agriculture <ul><li>↓ SW, ↑NE </li></ul><ul><li>Southern Australia: non-viable in dry margins, expand into wet margins </li></ul><ul><li>Potential for adaptation </li></ul>
    40. 40. Horticulture: <ul><li>Temperate fruits & nuts negatively affected </li></ul><ul><li>Crops relying on irrigation at a disadvantage </li></ul><ul><li>Qld fruit fly expected to pose risk to southern Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction in wine quality </li></ul><ul><li>But alternate varieties can be grown </li></ul>
    41. 41. Farming <ul><li>CO 2 may increase pasture growth </li></ul><ul><li>Will depend on moisture </li></ul><ul><li>Spread of exotic weeds </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction of rabbits via biological controls </li></ul><ul><li>↑ in thermal stress of animals </li></ul>
    42. 42. Coasts <ul><li>80% of Australians live in the coastal zone </li></ul><ul><li>Sea level rises </li></ul><ul><li>Storm surges </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of wetlands </li></ul>Society <ul><li>Tourism/recreation </li></ul><ul><li>Increased hazards </li></ul><ul><li>Energy use </li></ul><ul><li>Health </li></ul>
    43. 43. Outline <ul><li>What is happening with climate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we care? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will changes in climate have impacts on species? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses have occurred so far? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses could occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What research methods do we use to determine future responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What conservation initiatives can we undertake? </li></ul><ul><li>Science in Schools </li></ul>
    44. 44. Research Methods Monitor Experiment Model
    45. 45. Monitoring <ul><li>Trends over time: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Long-term observations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Re-sampling sites used previously </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Relate to climate variables </li></ul><ul><li>Extrapolate future impacts </li></ul>Root et al., 2003
    46. 46. Modelling <ul><li>Relationship between climate and distribution </li></ul>Current Future Beaumont et al 2007
    47. 47. Experimentation <ul><li>Elevated CO 2 , temperature, precipitation </li></ul>http://www.gartenbau.uni-hannover.de/gem/Einrichtungen/Bilder/Gew-Haus.jpg www.haibei.org/haibei/researche.htm per.ornl.gov/Zak.html
    48. 48. Outline <ul><li>What is happening with climate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we care? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will changes in climate have impacts on species? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses have occurred so far? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses could occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What research methods do we use to determine future responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What conservation initiatives can we undertake? </li></ul><ul><li>Science in Schools </li></ul>
    49. 49. Challenges for conservationists, policy-makers & managers <ul><li>Overcoming “too hard basket” syndrome </li></ul><ul><li>Accept that climate change will have measurable, & negative impacts over the next few decades </li></ul><ul><li>Accepting that traditional conservation strategies will not be adequate in the future </li></ul>
    50. 50. Peters RL & Darling JDS (1985) Climate change & nature reserves <ul><li>Many species now in reserves will need to move elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>Promote connectivity to assist natural adaptation of mobile or widely distributed species especially in fragmented landscapes </li></ul><ul><li>Consider manipulation/triage priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Develop simple monitoring strategies for identifying change to inform adaptive planning </li></ul>
    51. 51. Outline <ul><li>What is happening with climate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we care? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will changes in climate have impacts on species? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses have occurred so far? </li></ul><ul><li>What responses could occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What research methods do we use to determine future responses? </li></ul><ul><li>What conservation initiatives can we undertake? </li></ul><ul><li>Science in Schools </li></ul>
    52. 52. Science in Schools <ul><li>Phenology: the study of the timing of life cycle events in plants and animals </li></ul><ul><li>Used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Track the effect of climate change on organisms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make predictions about the future health of the environment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Phenology networks established overseas </li></ul>
    53. 53. School Phenology Network <ul><li>Aims: 1) Encourage schools to actively take part in nature observations </li></ul><ul><li>2) Provide data for scientific investigations </li></ul><ul><li>How: By recording the onset of phenological stages in annual natural cycles </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits to students: </li></ul><ul><li>1) Understanding the relationship between climate and natural cycles </li></ul><ul><li>2) Knowledge of climate change and its impacts </li></ul><ul><li>3) Methods of data collection and collation </li></ul><ul><li>4) Analyses of trends over time </li></ul><ul><li>5) Direct participation in a large-scale scientific study </li></ul>
    54. 54. What can we record? <ul><li>First bloom </li></ul><ul><li>Open flower </li></ul><ul><li>Full bloom </li></ul><ul><li>Fruit/seed dispersal </li></ul><ul><li>Arrival /departure of migratory birds </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance of butterflies </li></ul><ul><li>End of butterfly season </li></ul><ul><li>Frogs spawning </li></ul>
    55. 55. What happens with the data? <ul><li>Recorded on a website </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible to all schools </li></ul><ul><li>Latitudinal and altitudinal gradient </li></ul>
    56. 56. Internet advantages… <ul><li>How may species distributions shift? </li></ul><ul><li>What happens to species distributions when habitat is fragmented? </li></ul><ul><li>What may happen to coastal wetlands as sea-levels rise? </li></ul><ul><li>How does temperature changes development time of insects? </li></ul>
    57. 57. Questions?

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