Global Change Impacts on Biodiversity


Climate change impacts on biodiversity are spatially variable and often synergistic with other change drivers, including invasive species, disease and various forms of land use and land use change. The consequences of these multiple forms of change for the performance of protected areas and their management is key to the sustainability of conservation efforts. Our research considers these multiple interactive drivers of change and the implications for protected areas, including impacts on sub-Antarctic terrestrial systems.

Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) is an Antarctic research program, funded by the Australian Research Council as a Special Research Initiative. Prof. Melodie McGeoch is the lead of Theme 2 of SAEF, which is on Biodiversity Status and Trends. Which aims to transform our understanding of the biodiversity in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Understanding what species are there. How they survive in such a harsh environment. How they respond to climate change. Understanding invasive species within the Antarctic context. And how all of these answers will inform conservation efforts.

Examples of our work in this area:

Accommodating climate change contingencies in conservation strategy. 

  • Gillson, L., Dawson, T.P., Jack, S. & McGeoch, M.A. 2013. Accommodating climate change contingencies in conservation strategy. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28, 135-142. 10.1016/j.tree.2012.10.008

Rapid range expansion and community reorganization in response to warming

  • Le Roux, P.C. & McGeoch, M.A. 2008. Rapid range expansion and community reorganization in response to warming. Global Change Biology 14, 2950-2962. Doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01687.x

Climate change and elevational diversity capacity: do weedy species take up the slack? 

  • Chown, S.L., Le Roux, P.C., Ramaswiela, T., Kalwij, J.M., Shaw, J. & McGeoch, M.A. 2013. Climate change and elevational diversity capacity: do weedy species take up the slack? Biology Letters 9(1) (February 23) doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.0806

Evaluating models for predicting microclimates across sparsely vegetated and topographically diverse ecosystems.

  • Baker D.J., Dickson C.R., Bergstrom D.M., Whinam J., Maclean I.M.D., McGeoch M.A. 2021. Evaluating models for predicting microclimates across sparsely vegetated and topographically diverse ecosystems. Divers Distribution 27, pp 2093-2103. doi:10.1111/ddi.13398

Widespread dieback in a foundation species on a sub‐Antarctic World Heritage Island: Fine‐scale patterns and likely drivers.

  • Dickson, C.R., Baker, D.J., Bergstrom, D.M., Brookes, R.H., Whinam, J. and McGeoch, M.A. 2020. Widespread dieback in a foundation species on a sub‐Antarctic World Heritage Island: Fine‐scale patterns and likely drivers. Austral Ecology 46, pp 52-64. doi:10.1111/aec.12958

The conservation of abundance in nonthreatened species.

  • Baker, D., Garnett, S., O’Connor, J., Ehmke, G., Clarke, R., Woinarski, J., McGeoch, M.A. 2018. The conservation of abundance in nonthreatened species. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.13197

 Accommodating climate change contingencies in conservation strategy. 

  • Gillson, L., Dawson, T.P., Jack, S. & McGeoch, M.A. 2013. Accommodating climate change contingencies in conservation strategy. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28, 135-142.  doi:10.1016/j.tree.2012.10.008

 

Collaborators:
Professor Steven Chown
Dr Dana Bergstrom
Dr Justine Shaw 
Dr Aleks Terauds

Related Links:
Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
Australian Antarctic Division
IUCN SSC ISSG