Global Change and Biodiversity

 Grassland birds might be more vulnerable to climate change because of diminished buffering capacity of grassland ecosystems.

Grassland birds might be more vulnerable to climate change because of diminished buffering capacity of grassland ecosystems.

Vulnerability assessments and effective climate change adaptation rely on understanding of how land cover and habitat fragmentation influence how biodiversity responds to climate change. My collaborators and I investigated responses of forest and grassland breeding birds to over 20 years of climate change across varying gradients of forest and grassland habitat (Jarzyna et al. 2016). We found that responses of forest birds to climate change were weak and constant across the gradient of forest habitat, while grassland birds responded strongly to changing climatic conditions, particularly in poor grassland habitats. Diminished buffering capacity of grassland ecosystems might thus put species occupying open, grassland areas, at higher risk due to climate change. In another study (Jarzyna et al. 2015), we foundassemblages in fragmented landscapes to be more robust to climate change than communities found in contiguous habitats, likely because they are comprised of species with wider thermal niches and thus are less susceptible to shifts in climatic conditions.

Relevant publications:

Jarzyna MA, B Zuckerberg, AO Finley and WF Porter. 2016. Synergistic effects of climate and land cover: grassland birds are more vulnerable to climate change. Landscape Ecology, 31(10):2275-2290.

Jarzyna MA, WF Porter, BA Maurer, B Zuckerberg and AO Finley. 2015. Landscape fragmentation affects responses of avian communities to climate change. Global Change Biology, 21(8):2942-2953.

Jarzyna MA, AO Finley, WF Porter, BA Maurer, CM Beier and B Zuckerberg. 2014. Accounting for the space-varying nature of the relationships between community turnover and the environment. Ecography, 37(11):1073-1083.

 

Scale Dependence of Biodiversity

    
 
 
    Spatial scaling of community dissimilarity, temporal turnover, extinction, and colonization observed between 1980-85 and 2000-05 for avian communities in New York State across five different spatial grains (5x5 km, 10x10 km, 20x20 km, 40x40 km, and 80x80 km).    
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Spatial scaling of community dissimilarity, temporal turnover, extinction, and colonization observed between 1980-85 and 2000-05 for avian communities in New York State across five different spatial grains (5x5 km, 10x10 km, 20x20 km, 40x40 km, and 80x80 km).

Biodiversity patterns and the mechanisms driving these patterns are inherently scale dependent. Most research explores scaling patterns in a spatial context, even though the examination of scale-dependence concurrently in space and time has the potential to resolve inconsistencies in biodiversity patterns, identify the scales relevant to different ecological processes, and identify the environmental drivers of biodiversity that would be missed with a singular spatial or temporal approach. As part of this research theme, I investigated scaling of localized extinction and colonization in bird communities and explored scales at which landscape and climatic processes consistently drove these dynamics (Jarzyna et al. 2015).

Relevant publications:

Jarzyna MA and W Jetz. In review. The scale dependence of biodiversity change.

Jarzyna MA, B Zuckerberg, WF Porter, AO Finley and BA Maurer. 2015. Spatial scaling of temporal changes in avian communities. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24(11):1236-1348.

 

Trait-based Biogeography

Traits are important in determining species' responses to global change and acknowledging the trait-based attributes of species is increasingly seen as vital for conservation prioritization. Part of my work focuses on investigating patterns of trait and functional diversity.

To make a robust assessment of changes in functional assemblage structure, one must recognize the potential interaction between the missed detection of species and assemblage functional diversity. Consequences of ignoring imperfect detection are likely to be the most severe for large-scale biodiversity studies because they inevitably encompass a suite of distinct species with different detection probabilities and span large spatial and temporal extents. My collaborator and I developed a method to account for species’ imperfect detection in the estimates of multiple facets of biodiversity (Jarzyna and Jetz 2016). We then investigated changes in functional diversity of North American breeding birds over nearly half a century (Jarzyna and Jetz, In Press). Changes in taxonomic diversity were generally larger than changes in functional diversity, signaling biotic homogenization. Biodiversity changes were also greatest at high elevations and latitudes, consistent with the effects of ongoing anthropogenic climate change.

 The potential interaction between the missed detection of species and the distinctness of species in an assemblage.

The potential interaction between the missed detection of species and the distinctness of species in an assemblage.

Relevant publications:

Jarzyna MA and W Jetz. In review. The scale dependence of biodiversity change.

Jarzyna MA and W Jetz. In press. A near half-century of temporal change in different facets of avian diversity. Global Change Biology.

Jarzyna MA and W Jetz. 2016. Detecting the multiple facets of biodiversity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 31(7):527-538.