Community responses to climate change

Indirect effects of climate on alpine plants

Global climate change is expected to alter ecological communities through changes in species’ local abundances and geographic ranges. As species migrate to track a changing climate, differences in mobility, life history, and dispersal will drive the decoupling of species interactions formation of new ones. Plant-pollinator communities are particularly susceptible to interaction decoupling due to the different speeds at which plants and pollinators are able to migrate to “track” climate change. As an NSF GROW (Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide) Fellow, I am collaborating with Drs. Chris Johnson and Jonathan Levine on a study examining how warming affects alpine plant-pollinator communities. At experimental warming sites in the Swiss alps, we are examining the structure of plant-pollinator communities and consequences for plants in a warmer world.