Environmental changes in the North Atlantic Region: SCANNET as a collaborative approach for documenting, understanding and predicting changes.
ABSTRACT The lands surrounding the North Atlantic Region (the SCANNET Region) cover a wide range of climate regimes, physical environments and availability of natural resources. Except in the extreme North, they have supported human populations and various cultures since at least the end of the last ice age. However, the region is also important at a wider geographical scale in that it influences the global climate and supports animals that migrate between the Arctic and all the other continents of the world. Climate, environment and land use in the region are changing rapidly and projections suggest that global warming will be amplified there while increasing land use might dramatically reduce the remaining wilderness areas. Because much of the region is sparsely populated--if populated at all--observational records of past environmental changes and their impacts are both few and of short duration. However, it is becoming very important to record the changes that are now in progress, to understand the drivers of these changes, and to predict future consequences of the changes. To facilitate research into understanding impacts of global change on the lands of the North Atlantic Regions, and also to monitor changes in real time, an EU-funded network of research sites and infrastructures was formed in 2000: this was called SCANNET--SCANdinavian/North European NETwork of Terrestrial Field Bases. SCANNET currently consists of 9 core sites and 5 sites within local networks that together cover the broad range of current climate and predicted change in the region. Climate observations are well replicated across the network, whereas each site has tended to select particular environmental and ecological subjects for intensive observation. This provides diversity of both subject coverage and expertise. In this paper, we summarize the findings of SCANNET to-date and outline its information bases in order to increase awareness of data on environmental change in the North Atlantic Region. We also identify important gaps in our understanding and identify where the roles of existing infrastructures and activities represented by SCANNET can facilitate future research, monitoring and ground-truthing activities.
- SourceAvailable from: Jonathan Lenoir[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Predicting which species will occur together in the future, and where, remains one of the greatest challenges in ecology, and requires a sound understanding of how the abiotic and biotic environments interact with dispersal processes and history across scales. Biotic interactions and their dynamics influence species' relationships to climate, and this also has important implications for predicting future distributions of species. It is already well accepted that biotic interactions shape species' spatial distributions at local spatial extents, but the role of these interactions beyond local extents (e.g. 10 km(2) to global extents) are usually dismissed as unimportant. In this review we consolidate evidence for how biotic interactions shape species distributions beyond local extents and review methods for integrating biotic interactions into species distribution modelling tools. Drawing upon evidence from contemporary and palaeoecological studies of individual species ranges, functional groups, and species richness patterns, we show that biotic interactions have clearly left their mark on species distributions and realised assemblages of species across all spatial extents. We demonstrate this with examples from within and across trophic groups. A range of species distribution modelling tools is available to quantify species environmental relationships and predict species occurrence, such as: (i) integrating pairwise dependencies, (ii) using integrative predictors, and (iii) hybridising species distribution models (SDMs) with dynamic models. These methods have typically only been applied to interacting pairs of species at a single time, require a priori ecological knowledge about which species interact, and due to data paucity must assume that biotic interactions are constant in space and time. To better inform the future development of these models across spatial scales, we call for accelerated collection of spatially and temporally explicit species data. Ideally, these data should be sampled to reflect variation in the underlying environment across large spatial extents, and at fine spatial resolution. Simplified ecosystems where there are relatively few interacting species and sometimes a wealth of existing ecosystem monitoring data (e.g. arctic, alpine or island habitats) offer settings where the development of modelling tools that account for biotic interactions may be less difficult than elsewhere.Biological Reviews 01/2013; 88:15-30. · 10.26 Impact Factor