Paleobiology, Evolution, and Climate: Interdisciplinary Research for Conservation Grant uri icon


  • Science, as well as society, is increasingly concerned with the health of the Earth and how all biotic and abiotic Earth system components will respond to anthropogenically driven environmental changes in the near future (Ara├║jo and Rahbek 2006; Stocker 2013; Barnosky et al. 2014; Barnosky et al. 2017). Recent reports show conservative estimates of global temperature will rise at least 1.5 C and very likely will exceed 2 C over the next century (Stocker 2013; IPCC 2014). We are likely to experience disruption in the water and carbon cycle, more rapid warming, increasing contrast between wet and dry regions, increasing seasonality, and increasing sea level (Stocker 2013; Aumann et al. 2018; Coumou et al. 2018; Zhou et al. 2019). An important research agenda for ecology, conservation, and environmental biology is to understand the ecological impacts of environmental change on species, if these impacts affect biodiversity and ecosystem function, and how these impacts affect society on short and long term time scales (Walther et al. 2002; Barnosky et al. 2014; Pecl et al. 2017). Thus, I will investigate multiple mechanisms related to how species and communities respond to environmental changes, which will ultimately help society mitigate biodiversity loss and the loss of ecosystem services.Relevance to Agriculture. Biodiversity conservation is necessary to conserve functioning ecosystems and to produce economically valuable services (Hassan et al. 2005). Often the services provided by nature are called ecosystem services (Daily and Ellison 2002). Ecosystem services are categorized into four main services: provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting. Agriculture is a provisioning ecosystem service, it is acutely dependent on supporting and regulating services, such as local climatic and environmental conditions, and it is vulnerable to extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods (Chrispeels and Sadava 1994; Fisher et al. 2002). Although research into valuation of ecosystems and their services is still an active area of study, the overall economic impacts of ecosystem loss and degradation is known to be high (Kareiva et al. 2011). The impact will differentially affect places with high poverty, as a high percentage of their GDP stems from ecosystem services (Sukhdev and Kumar 2008). Developing indicator metrics for ecosystem health, such as those based on functional traits, will help us monitor ecosystem well-being, will provide a pathway to develop alternative trait-based conservation plans, and will allow us to compare past, modern, and future potential ecosystem states in the range of past natural variability. In addition, strengthening STEM education outreach, especially focusing on rural areas and areas with high poverty, will increase interest in sustainability and grow the workforce in sustainable and healthy agricultural practices

date/time interval

  • 2019 - 2024