CBER Research Talk - Jess Williams - 6 August 2018

Start: Aug 06, 2018 01:00 PM
End: Aug 06, 2018 02:00 PM

Title: Local climatic changes influence biodiversity responses to land use
Speaker: Jessica J Williams - PhD student (personal page)
Venue: G01 Lankester LT, Medawar Building (map)
Abstract: Rapid human population growth has resulted in increasing exploitation of the environment and conversion of land for human use. These changes in land use can alter land cover, which mediates local climatic conditions and in turn may influence community composition. In human-altered landscapes, sites are generally hotter and drier than in natural habitats. By using the PREDICTS project (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) database, we analysed, for the first time globally, whether human land uses and land-use intensification systematically favour species with certain climatic niches. We found that communities within human-dominated land uses were, on average, composed of species affiliated with warmer and drier climates relative to communities within primary vegetation. In addition, community-average thermal niche breadths were found to be wider in human-altered land uses. The size of these effects differed between geographic zones as well as between endothermic and ectothermic communities. These results enhance our understanding of how biodiversity responds to land-use change, which will help us to predict species’ responses to future land-use changes and to design suitable management and conservation strategies.

Photo credit: Jess Williams