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Climate change and the ecologist. Nature

Nature (Impact Factor: 41.46). 09/2007; 448(7153):550-2. DOI: 10.1038/448550a
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The evidence for rapid climate change now seems overwhelming. Global temperatures are predicted to rise by up to 4 °C by 2100, with associated alterations in precipitation patterns. Assessing the consequences for biodiversity, and how they might be mitigated, is a Grand Challenge in ecology.

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Available from: Wilfried Thuiller, Feb 28, 2014
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    • "This knowledge concerns unprecedented stressors for biological diversity such as habitat fragmentation, introduction of alien species, overfishing of oceans, and the rapid growth of the world population, which are particular threats to biodiversity in the short term to midterm (Lubchenco, 1998; Barnosky et al., 2011). But looking 50 years into the future and beyond, the effects of climate are likely to become increasingly prominent relative to the other factors (Thuiller, 2007; Settele et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Loss of biodiversity under climate change is on the top of European research agendas. However, there is a huge gap between the scientific and the educational communities: Only a small amount of current knowledge reaches the young generation. We faced the challenge of how to transfer results of biodiversity research to the reality of school classrooms – in a way that raises interest, awareness and motivation among students from the age of 12 to 19. We developed the educational software PRONAS (PROjections of NAture for Schools) to show how scientists handle questions about the impact of climate change on the habitats of many European species. About 50 European plant and animal species have been used to demonstrate habitat losses, habitat shifts, and mismatch of habitat dynamics of interacting species. The software was developed with a bottom-up approach, and a manual for applying the software in the classroom was written in close cooperation with teachers. We included specific elements of didactic approaches such as storylines describing future scenarios, projections and simulations of species' future climatic niches, as well as the combination of virtual and real excursions. PRONAS is freely accessible in German and English on http://www.ufz.de/pronas-lernsoftware. Feedback was given by about 100 teachers from German and other European schools at six teacher workshops and by 141 students from four German schools. While most teachers confirmed that the designed format of knowledge transfer is attractive and contributes to knowledge building and awareness raising, many students older than 16 felt under-challenged. Altogether, we found that "educational software" is a useful format for scientific outreach which is worth joint efforts of scientists and educators and which needs more support and incentives for scientists to go forward in this direction.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Web Ecology
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    • "At the level of the ecosystem, the greatest impacts may be expected in regions closer to the poles, which is where temperature and rainfall patterns will be most altered. In the tropics, shifts in wildfire patterns will also play a role, as well as the effect of CO 2 fertilization, the process by which increased levels of atmospheric CO 2 helps plants build up biomass quickly (Thuiller 2007). However, in terms of individual species, changing local weather patterns in the tropics will determine in part where, and in what numbers, species can survive. "

    Full-text · Technical Report · Jul 2015
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    • "At the level of the ecosystem, the greatest impacts may be expected in regions closer to the poles, which is where temperature and rainfall patterns will be most altered. In the tropics, shifts in wildfire patterns will also play a role, as well as the effect of CO 2 fertilization, the process by which increased levels of atmospheric CO 2 helps plants build up biomass quickly (Thuiller 2007). However, in terms of individual species, changing local weather patterns in the tropics will determine in part where, and in what numbers, species can survive. "

    Full-text · Technical Report · Jul 2015
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