Biology Seminar: "The Impacts of Global Warming on Pacific Northwestern Conifers"

Start Date/Time: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 4:00 PM
Location: PAA 102

Speaker: Janneke Hille Ris Lambers

UW Department of Biology

Humans have become the dominant ecological force on Earth – we are warming the planet, moving species beyond their historic ranges, polluting and fragmenting habitats, and ultimately, driving one of the largest mass extinction events in Earths history. How will these large perturbations influence the organisms with which we share our planet? Research in my lab is motivated by this broad question. I will present recent results from an ongoing study at Mount Rainier National Park, where my lab is investigating the effects of global warming on Pacific Northwestern conifers. Ecological theory predicts that the distribution of these tree species should move polewards and uphill (i.e. range shifts), if climatic factors determine their range limits. I will show that although climate plays an important role in constraining current distributions, biotic interactions and limited migration potential also influence how and whether focal species will respond to global warming. More generally, I will use these (and other) research in my lab to demonstrate that predicting the biological impacts of anthropogenic global change requires a fundamental understanding of the processes that structure ecological communities.