Evan Rehm, a former graduate student with FIU Department of Biology and ICTB (currently a postdoc at Colorado State University), and Dr. Kenneth Feeley have published a new article in the open-access journal Frontiers of Biogeography. The article is entitled “Many species risk mountaintop extinctions long before they reach the top“. In their article, Rehm and Feeley discuss the importance of ecotones, such as the alpline treeline, in setting current and future species’ distributions. They highlight the fact that many species’ range boudaries are set by ecotones and that these ecotones may not shift concurrently with climate change – potentially resulting in rapid range compressions and elevated extinction risks.
Ken Feeley has been awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship. With the support of the Fulbright Fellowship, Ken will spend the Fall 2016 semester on a sabbatical leave at the National University of Colombia in Medellin working on a collaborative study with Dr. Alvaro Duque. Ken’s research will build off of previous work that he and Alvaro conducted looking at climate-driven changes in the composition of Andean forests (published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/34/10744.abstract). Ken and Alvaro will now look at how the observed changes in composition relate to species’ functional traits and climatic tolerances.
Evan Rehm, a former biology grad student at FIU, and Ken Feeley have published a new article in the journal Oecologia entitled “Seedling transplants reveal species-specific responses of high-elevation tropical treeline trees to climate change” (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00442-016-3619-0). The article is based on a study transplanting seedling of high-elevation Andean tree species across an elevational gradiant and under experimental heating and shading treatments. The study revealed that tree species responded differently to the environmental manipulations and that warming decreased survivorship in the most common species (Weinmannia fagaroides). These results highlight the need for species specific studies and models to predict the effects of climate change in this biodiversity hotspot.