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Mechanisms underpinning the impact of climate change on natural populations

There is an urgent need to identify the key mechanisms underpinning climate change impacts on biodiversity in order to inform climate change adaptation. This project will review the scientific literature to quantify the evidence for different potential climate change impact mechanisms and appraise their relative importance. Meta-analyses will be conducted to consider how their relative importance varies between taxa, habitats and regions. Results will be reported in a scientific paper and a policy-maker summary.

This project was funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund.

Project Aims

The project aims to conduct a comprehensive literature review and meta-analysis of the scientific and grey literature to quantify the evidence for different potential climate change impact mechanisms and appraise their relative importance, in order to address the following questions.

  1. What are the mechanisms underpinning climate change impacts on natural populations that have the most evidence to support them? Are the mechanisms that are most frequently investigated the same as those with the most evidence?
  2. Does the importance of different mechanisms vary between taxa, and to what extent can such variation be accounted for by various ecological traits?
  3. Does the importance of different mechanisms vary geographically and between habitats?

This information will be used to develop a matrix of species groups and environments in order to highlight which impacts are likely to be most important in particular circumstances. Meta-analyses will be conducted to consider how their relative importance varies between taxa, habitats and regions. Results will be reported in a paper aimed at a high-impact journal and a policy-maker summary; they are intended to serve the IPCC’s upcoming 5th Assessment Report and to inform conservation adaptation management.

 

Key Activities

  • Regular meetings over the course of the project to discuss how to approach the systematic review, and which elements of it will be led by each CCI partner.

CCI partners Involved

The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...
The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an independent scientific research trust specialising in impartial evidence-based knowledge and advice about populations, movements and ecology of birds and...
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, delivering global and regional programmes of conservation and community projects.
The Department of Plant Sciences' research spans plant and microbial sciences. Conservation-related work in the department includes forest ecology and conservation, tropical ecology, mathematical...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. It helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment...

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
Mechanisms underpinning climatic impacts on natural populations: altered species interactions are more important than direct effects Alterations in species’ distribution and abundance as a consequence of changes in climate are well-known, but the processes that underpin these changes are not well understood. A literature review... Journal articles