"Climate change is considered to be among the largest threats to biodiversity, and the primary response of the species to changes in regional climates is to shift their ranges.
However, to date projections of species’ responses to changes in the environment are typically based merely on the species’ association with environmental conditions, and do not take account for either biotic interactions or the ability of species to follow the changing 'climate envelope' through dispersal. Therefore there is an urgent need for incorporating more realism into species distribution modelling in order to inform more successful conservation planning.
This project aims both to contribute new theoretical understanding of how the spatial structure of a landscape contributes to the success or failure of range-shifting by species and species assemblages and to provide some novel tools for conservation. These goals will be achieved by adopting a landscape-centric approach for modelling biodiversity responses to environmental change. The novel landscape permeability modelling framework will link ecological and genetic dynamics. The modelling tool will be developed such that it can be used both for strategic modelling for elucidating the generic ecological and genetic dynamics of range-shifting across landscapes with different characteristics and for much more applied modelling focussing on spatial conservation prioritisation for real sets of species on real landscapes. The research will identify strategies for habitat creation and restoration that can easily be applied to current, real landscapes, and that should optimise the proportion and diversity of species able to effectively shift their ranges as climate changes."
Fields of science
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