If you’ve found this page you may have seen my poster at ESA’s annual conference! Thanks for coming along to check out my poster at #EcolSocAus19 in Launceston. I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet and also the land on which I work in the office and have spent so many hours in the field. I would like to pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging from the following first nations:
Ku-ring-gai people, Gadigal people of the Eora nation, Nunngawal people, Nauo people, Wirangu people, Nyemba people, Kabi Kabi people, Anaiwan people, Gumbaingerri people, Kamilaroi people, Bundjalung nation, Gumbaynggirr people, Birpai people, Baranggum people, Wiridajuri people, Nuenonne people, Paredarerme people, Lairmairrener people, Dalla people, Gunai people, Darug people.
I would also like to acknowledge the following institutions and funding bodies for the research I performed:
And particularly thank the Ecological Society of Australia for their Holsworth Award, which has allowed me to carry out all the fieldwork, glasshouse work and experiments from this project.
Further details about the project:
- Studies assessing the biological impacts of climate change typically rely on long-term, historic data. Here, we overcame the problem of absent historical data by using resurrected plant seeds (see figure below) and measuring, marked changes in seed and seedling traits through time (see figure below). This allowed us to determine plant regeneration and growth trait responses to climate change.
- We collected seed and seedling trait measurements from modern/historic species that existed in a range of regions that have undergone different amounts of climate change (see figure below).
- We found that plants had changed a lot through time! (see figure below – green is significant and orange is insignificant – alpha 0.05)
- These changes were not significantly related to growth form (see figure below), however it did seem that herbs showed the greatest amount of change. Further studies with a wider range of growth forms are needed.
- In regions where climate has changed to a greater degree, we found plant regeneration and growth traits to have changed more than in regions where climate changes have been marginal. Statistical model predictors of regeneration and growth trait changes (except stem density) combined at least two measures of climate change, indicating that these changes are correlated to climate change and that compounded changes, rather than change in a single climate metric, lead to plant regeneration and growth trait responses.
- These trait responses to climate change are positive news for the future of plants, hinting at their ability to respond relatively swiftly as the climate continues to change. Particularly during the stages of the life-cycle that are particularly at risk to environmental change.