Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota

Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota Climate is a driver of biotic systems. It affects individual fitness, population dynamics, distribution and abundance of species, and ecosystem structure and function. Regional variation in climatic regimes creates selective pressures for the evolution of locally adapted physiologies, morphological adaptations (e.g., color patterns, surface textures, body shapes and sizes), and behavioral adaptations (e.g., foraging strategies and breeding systems). In the absence of humans, broad-scale, long-term consequences of climatic warming on wild organisms are generally predictable. Evidence from Pleistocene glaciations indicates that most species responded ecologically by shifting their ranges poleward and upward in elevation, rather than evolutionary through local adaptation (e.g., morphological changes). But these broad patterns tell us little about the relative importance of gradual climatic trends as compared to extreme weather events in shaping these processes. Here, evidence is brought forward that extreme weather events can be implicated as mechanistic drivers of broad ecological responses to climatic trends. They are, therefore, essential to include in predictive biological models, such as doubled CO2 scenarios. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society American Meteorological Society

Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0477
D.O.I.
10.1175/1520-0477(2000)081<0443:IOEWAC>2.3.CO;2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Climate is a driver of biotic systems. It affects individual fitness, population dynamics, distribution and abundance of species, and ecosystem structure and function. Regional variation in climatic regimes creates selective pressures for the evolution of locally adapted physiologies, morphological adaptations (e.g., color patterns, surface textures, body shapes and sizes), and behavioral adaptations (e.g., foraging strategies and breeding systems). In the absence of humans, broad-scale, long-term consequences of climatic warming on wild organisms are generally predictable. Evidence from Pleistocene glaciations indicates that most species responded ecologically by shifting their ranges poleward and upward in elevation, rather than evolutionary through local adaptation (e.g., morphological changes). But these broad patterns tell us little about the relative importance of gradual climatic trends as compared to extreme weather events in shaping these processes. Here, evidence is brought forward that extreme weather events can be implicated as mechanistic drivers of broad ecological responses to climatic trends. They are, therefore, essential to include in predictive biological models, such as doubled CO2 scenarios.

Journal

Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Mar 6, 2000

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