The ecological/evolutionary community needs new concepts, models, empirical approaches, and statistical tools to project where individual species will move, how ecological communities will disassemble and reassemble, and how those communities will change in structure and function as the climate continues to change.
Stronger predictive power will be critical in mitigating the effects of climate change on biodiversity, community dynamics, ecosystem functioning, and species of conservation concern. To this end, we are hosting an interactive conference to address the state-of-the-art and ways forward, with results of the conference disseminated in a book and a synthesis paper.
We have identified a candidate list of questions that can serve as guideposts for presentations and discussion.
- How will range shifts of individual species be affected by differences in the degree to which other community members shift with them? Can we predict which communities will maintain integrity vs showing idiosyncratic responses by individual species?
- To what extent do specific biotic interactions (e.g., competition, parasitism) accelerate vs decelerate rates of range shift under climate change? How will climate change affect trophic interactions, particularly the relative importance of top-down and bottom-up forcing?
- What are the consequences of integrated vs disintegrated community shifts for various metrics of community stability? In other words, will new communities formed as species shift their ranges be more or less resilient than the “ancestral” communities?
- What are the relative roles of plasticity and genetic adaptation in response to novel abiotic and biotic challenges? How does the capacity for rapid evolutionary response vary across life histories and habitats?
- As some organisms adapt to changing climate, how will the phenotypic changes affect their biotic interactions and role in ecological functions? How will differences in evolutionary potential among interacting species affect community (dis)assembly and ecosystem function?