Spatial Heterogeneity in Ecologically Important Climate Variables at Coarse and Fine Scales in a High-Snow Mountain LandscapeReportar como inadecuado

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Climate plays an important role in determining the geographic ranges of species. With rapid climate change expected in the coming decades, ecologists have predicted that species ranges will shift large distances in elevation and latitude. However, most range shift assessments are based on coarse-scale climate models that ignore fine-scale heterogeneity and could fail to capture important range shift dynamics. Moreover, if climate varies dramatically over short distances, some populations of certain species may only need to migrate tens of meters between microhabitats to track their climate as opposed to hundreds of meters upward or hundreds of kilometers poleward. To address these issues, we measured climate variables that are likely important determinants of plant species distributions and abundances snow disappearance date and soil temperature at coarse and fine scales at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, USA. Coarse-scale differences across the landscape such as large changes in elevation had expected effects on climatic variables, with later snow disappearance dates and lower temperatures at higher elevations. However, locations separated by small distances ∼20 m, but differing by vegetation structure or topographic position, often experienced differences in snow disappearance date and soil temperature as great as locations separated by large distances >1 km. Tree canopy gaps and topographic depressions experienced later snow disappearance dates than corresponding locations under intact canopy and on ridges. Additionally, locations under vegetation and on topographic ridges experienced lower maximum and higher minimum soil temperatures. The large differences in climate we observed over small distances will likely lead to complex range shift dynamics and could buffer species from the negative effects of climate change.

Autor: Kevin R. Ford , Ailene K. Ettinger, Jessica D. Lundquist, Mark S. Raleigh, Janneke Hille Ris Lambers



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