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Protect butterflies across Europe through climate refugia

Project description

Climate refugia identified for butterfly conservation

Gaps still remain in our understanding of the ecology and distributions of pollinator insects, particularly in relation to future climatic conditions. The EU-funded PROBAE project will address this situation by creating a framework to identify areas of conservation priority for pollinator insects across Europe. The focus will be on butterflies and climate change refugia, which will increase the likelihood of species' persistence in future climatic conditions. The project will use data on the distribution of European butterflies and novel modelling approaches to identify diversity hotspots. It will also assess if forests can increase the persistence of threatened butterflies in the face of climate change and determine which areas should be prioritised to protect climate change refugia across the EU.

Objective

Biodiversity is the essential foundation that supports prosperous human societies. Yet, current rates of human-driven changes in climate and habitats define the Anthropocene as one of the most catastrophic times for species on our planet. Reversing declines in pollinator insects, a necessary component of healthy and productive ecosystems, is a priority in the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and Pollinators Initiative. Yet, several gaps remain in our understanding of the ecology and distributions of these taxa, particularly in relation to future climatic conditions.

PROBAE (PROtect Butterflies Across Europe through climate refugia) defines a novel framework to identify areas of conservation priority for pollinator insects across Europe, focussing on butterflies and climate change refugia, i.e. areas that will increase the likelihood of species’ persistence in future climatic conditions. I will use extensive spatio-temporal data on the distribution of European butterflies and novel modelling approaches to: (i) identify high-resolution hotspots of taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity by integrating expert maps and monitoring data; (ii) assess if forests can increase the persistence of threatened butterflies in the face of climate change; (iii) determine which areas should be prioritized to protect climate change refugia across the EU.

PROBAE synthesizes concepts from population ecology, biogeography, biodiversity science, and conservation planning. By developing this innovative project, I will train skills that will allow me to establish as an independent researcher (e.g. Bayesian hierarchical modelling, conservation biogeography, analysis of big data), while networking with leading experts in the fields of landscape ecology, macroecology, and global change biology. The outcomes of PROBAE will inform actions related to the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, and contribute broadly to the Horizon 2020 objective of achieving a climate resilient future.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITE DE LAUSANNE
Net EU contribution
€ 191 149,44
Address
QUARTIER UNIL CENTRE - BATIMENT UNICENTRE
1015 LAUSANNE
Switzerland

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Region
Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Vaud
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 191 149,44