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Project

Biological diversity in an inconstant world: temporal turnover in modified ecosystems (BIOTIME)

Description:

The BioTIME project addresses the temporal dynamics of species abundance distributions and the capacity of these distributions to cope with the impacts that result from human pressure on our planet. BioTIME has addressed this questions in three complementary ways: (i) by using theoretical models to understand species abundance distributions and predict responses to a range of events including climate change and the arrival of invasive species;  (ii) by testing predictions concerning the resistance and resilience of communities  by a comparative analysis of existing data sets (that encompass communities in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments for ecosystems extending from the poles to the tropics) and through a new field experiment that quantifies temporal turnover across a community (unicellular organisms to vertebrates) in relation to factors both natural (dispersal limitation) and anthropogenic (human disturbance) thought to shape species abundance distribution; (iii) by applying these new insights to two important conservation challenges. These conservation challenges are: 1) the conservation of biodiversity in a heavily utilized European landscape (Fife, Scotland), and 2) the conservation of biodiversity in Mamirauá and Amaña reserves in Amazonian flooded forest.

The project results allow predicting whether a rare species is rare throughout the region, or just happens to be rare in a locality. This supports reserve managers to prioritize species for conservation. The project has also shown that careful recreational use does not adversely compromise tropical biodiversity. New statistical tools for use by policy makers to help protect wild nature have been developed. Taken together this research not only shed new light on the structure of ecological communities but also aid conservation.

Project information

Lead

THE UNIVERSITY COURT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS (UK) STARRS, Professor Anne Magurran

Partners

no information available

Source of funding

FP 7

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 07 2016   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Feb 24 2021

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