Observed Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity
There is strong scientific evidence that climate change is already impacting plant and animal populations, and model projections indicate that the current trends are likely to continue over the coming century. This module includes a synthesis and presentation that reviews case studies from the primary scientific literature on the observed effects of climate change on biodiversity and an exercise that has participants explore the communication and interpretation of climate change science through role-playing as climate scientists or journalists.
Synthesis: Observed Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity
Author: R.G. Pearson, S.J. Siller
This synthesis reviews the observed effects of climate change on biodiversity, drawing on key findings from the primary scientific literature. Case studies covering a broad taxonomic and geographical range have been selected to provide examples of recent studies on these impacts, including poleward and upslope shifts in distribution, changes in disease risk, phonological responses, coral bleaching, and community-level impacts.
The vast boreal forest just south of the Arctic Circle is a key region for studying climate change--both impacts of it and contributions to it. Trees and permafrost are vast reservoirs of carbon. Watch ecologists conduct experiments in Alaska's forest that aim to unravel the complex feedbacks among plants, permafrost, and climate so scientists can better predict the future of our warming planet.
Exercise: Observed Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity
Author: K.M. Hanson, S.J. Siller, R.G. Pearson
In this exercise, students explore the communication and interpretation of climate change science
by participating in interviews as one of two defined roles: climate scientist or journalist. In these roles,
students will analyze and interpret scientific findings published in the primary scientific literature, and
will then practice communicating science in written and oral forms.
Presentation: Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity