Posted on April 22, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Alpine plants like the avalanche lily may soon be squeezed out their habitat by global warming.
Researchers measure significant changes in plant communities across European mountain ranges
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Global warming is diminishing species diversity across many mountain ranges in Europe at a dizzying pace. A continent-wide study showed measurable changes in plant communities just within a decade, according to a study led by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna.
The scientists reached their conclusions after surveying plant communities on 66 mountain summits from the north of Europe all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, mapping plants in 2001 and again in 2008. The results essentially showed that plants are moving upward, which raises the number of species on mountain tops but leads to an overall decline in species diversity.
“Our results showing a decline at the Mediterranean sites is worrying because these are the mountains with a very unique flora and a large proportion of their species occur only there and nowhere else on Earth,” said Harald Pauli, of the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA) program, which coordinated the study.
Increasing species numbers were only found on summits of northern and central Europe. By contrast, species numbers were stagnating or declining at nearly all sites in the Mediterranean region. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, plants and flowers, world news | Tagged: alpine plants, Austrian Academy of Sciences, biodiversity, climate, Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 23, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Some alpine plants in Colorado are already feeling the heat of global warming, and researchers are trying to determine where the 'tipping point' might be. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
Long-term study aims to determine climate change tipping points
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Some alpine and arctic plants — including species found in the Colorado mountains — are showing negative effects of warmer conditions, with lower survival at the southern edges of their range, according to University of Wyoming ecologist Daniel Doak.
Together with Duke University researcher William Morris, Doak is conducting a long-term research project to determine how these species respond to climate change. In most years the impacts to plant populations are balanced by stronger growth in other areas. But in the warmest years of the six-year study, both survival and growth of the plants fell.
The study is based on the assumption that, as the Earth’s climate warms, species are expected to shift their geographical ranges away from the equator or to higher elevations. While scientists have already documented shifts for many plants and animals, the ranges of others seem stable. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: alpine plants, Duke University, Environment, global warming, National Science Foundation, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, University of Wyoming | 1 Comment »