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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Jul 12;365(1549):2019-24. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0021.

Community and ecosystem responses to recent climate change.

Author information

1
Department of Plant Ecology, University of Bayreuth, Germany. gian-reto.walther@uni-bayreuth.de

Abstract

There is ample evidence for ecological responses to recent climate change. Most studies to date have concentrated on the effects of climate change on individuals and species, with particular emphasis on the effects on phenology and physiology of organisms as well as changes in the distribution and range shifts of species. However, responses by individual species to climate change are not isolated; they are connected through interactions with others at the same or adjacent trophic levels. Also from this more complex perspective, recent case studies have emphasized evidence on the effects of climate change on biotic interactions and ecosystem services. This review highlights the 'knowns' but also 'unknowns' resulting from recent climate impact studies and reveals limitations of (linear) extrapolations from recent climate-induced responses of species to expected trends and magnitudes of future climate change. Hence, there is need not only to continue to focus on the impacts of climate change on the actors in ecological networks but also and more intensively to focus on the linkages between them, and to acknowledge that biotic interactions and feedback processes lead to highly complex, nonlinear and sometimes abrupt responses.

PMID:
20513710
PMCID:
PMC2880129
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2010.0021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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