Roles of diversity and adaptation in the eco-evolutionary responses of biodiverse plant communities to climate change

Joshi, J., Hofhansl, F. ORCID:, Singh, S., Stocker, B., Brännström, Å., Vignal, T., Casagrande Blanco, C., Aleixo, I., et al. (2023). Roles of diversity and adaptation in the eco-evolutionary responses of biodiverse plant communities to climate change. In: EGU General Assembly 2023, 23-28 April 2023, Vienna.

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Climate change is projected to cause not only higher mean temperatures but also higher climate variability. Although elevated CO2 concentrations can potentially increase the productivity of some ecosystems, higher temperatures and more frequent droughts may lead to increased respiration and mortality, possibly negating these productivity gains. The capacity of global forests to adjust to climate change depends on their functional diversity and the ecosystem’s adaptive capacity.

The Plant-FATE eco-evolutionary model describes vegetation responses to altered environmental conditions, including CO2 concentrations, temperatures, and droughts. It represents functional diversity by modelling species as points in trait space and incorporates ecosystem adaptations at three levels: 1) to model acclimation of plastic traits of individual plants, we leverage the power of eco-evolutionary optimality principles, 2) to model shifts in species composition via demographic changes and species immigration, we implement a trait-size-structured demographic vegetation model, and 3) to model the long-term genetic evolution of species, we have developed new evolutionary theory for trait-size-structured communities.

First, we show that with just a few calibrated parameters, the Plant-FATE model accurately predicts the fluxes of CO2 and water, size distributions, and trait distributions for a tropical wet site in the Amazon Forest. Second, we show that under elevated CO2 conditions and in the absence of nutrient limitation, our model predictions are broadly consistent with observations, namely: an increase in leaf area, productivity and biomass, and a decrease in stomatal conductance and photosynthetic capacity. Third, we simulate the calibrated model with hypothetical future drought regimes to investigate three key features of ecosystem responses: 1) the change in species composition and ecosystem functioning in response to altered conditions, 2) the timescales of ecosystem response to new regimes, 3) the influence of functional diversity on the timescale of ecosystem adaptation and its consequences for ecosystem collapse.

Our eco-evolutionary vegetation modelling strategy presents a powerful approach to leverage the power of natural selection to simulate ecosystem dynamics under novel conditions that plants may have never experienced before.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Cooperation and Transformative Governance (CAT)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Systemic Risk and Resilience (SYRR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC)
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Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 08 May 2023 07:28
Last Modified: 08 May 2023 07:28

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