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AIAS Seminar: with Tom Oliver Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, UK

Interacting effects of climate change and habitat fragmentation on drought-sensitive butterflies

2015.06.09 | AIAS

Date Wed 10 Jun
Time 15:15 16:00
Location The AIAS Auditorium, Building 1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C

Much research on the observed and projected impacts of climate change has focussed on population responses to incremental changes in temperature and precipitation. However, the greatest effects of climate change may well be mediated through the impacts of extreme climate events (e.g. drought, winter cold, flooding). I review predictions for the effects of incremental temperature and precipitation changes on UK butterflies, a group of environmentally sensitive, thermophilous organisms. I then present evidence that these predictions for population persistence may be dramatically reversed when the projected effects of extreme climate events are taken into account. At least 6 butterfly species, significantly sensitive to drought events, are likely to suffer widespread population extinctions in the UK by the year 2050 under all climate scenarios tested. This emphasises the importance of directly halting emissions of global warming gases. However, there are also opportunities to mediate the negative impacts of extreme climate events through landscape management. Population crashes tend to be less severe where larger and less fragmented areas of semi-natural habitat remain.

Coffee and tea will be served before the seminar at 15:00.

All are welcome, no registration.

AIAS Fellow Toke T. Høye