I am presenting a poster at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco. Stop by to say hello and to hear more about the Ackerly lab work on community weighted climate means.
Ackerly lab members Meagan Oldfather and Matt Kling are also presenting at the conference. Visit www.ackerlylab.org for more information!
Rachael Leigh Olliff Yang
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
8:00 – 12:20 Moscone South – Poster Hall
Shifts in species distributions across topographic gradients may represent an important initial response to climate change. Our understanding of community composition, and predicting community shifts, can be enhanced by examining the climate niche space of the component species both at large and small scales. A community weighted climatic niche mean can be calculated as the abundance-weighted mean of each component species’ average niche space across its range. Community weighed means can be used as a tool for understanding species distributions at multiple scales, as well as predicating changes in species ranges with a changing climate. In this study of mixed hardwood woodlands in coastal California (Pepperwood Preserve), we examine the community weighted means of plant communities in fifty vegetation plots in relation to topographic and environmental gradients. For each species a climate trait mean was extracted from climate data across its range within California, and these values were averaged across species to calculate a community weighted mean for each plot. We find that range-wide climate community means correlate with local Climatic Water Deficit (CWD). This relationship holds for both woody and herbaceous species. These results indicate that range wide climatic values predict aggregated properties of plant community distributions across environmental gradients. We expect that community responses to climate change will appear as shifts towards warmer and/or drier community mean values in each location (‘thermophilization’), and as shifts in species towards cooler and/or moister locations along environmental gradients.