Impacts of climate change on ecological patterns and processes

Schematic representation of geographic range shifting due to climate change

Environmental conditions for species communities are changing as a result of human activities, in particular due to climate change and altered human land use. The last decades have shown that many communities are not able to cope with these changes. Adaptation to the impacts of climate change is thus an important issue in environmental management such as biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of natural resources, population regulation or disease control. In all these fields, mechanistic understanding of the impacts of climate change in its different dimensions (e.g., trends in environmental variables or disturbance regimes, increasing variability, occurrence of extreme events, landscape dynamics, disturbance interactions, geographic range shifting) on the dynamics and stability of populations and communities is central (esp. resilience, buffer mechanisms, ecosystem service capacity). This understanding provides the basis for the development of efficient adaptation strategies to climate change.

Our department contributes to this discussion with a variety of models ranging from conceptual simulation models to complex individual-based models. In these models the consequences of climate change for the structure, dynamics, stability, diversity and vulnerability of species and species communities are investigated and adaptation strategies are tested.

Selected Publications

  • Best, A. S., Johst, K., Münkemüller, T., Travis, J. M. J. (2007):
    Which species will succesfully track climate change? The influence of intraspecific competition and density dependent dispersal on range shifting dynamics
    Oikos 116 (9), 1531-1539
  • Schwager, M., Johst, K., Jeltsch, F. (2006):
    Does red noise increase or decrease extinction risk? Single extreme events versus series of unfavorable conditions
    Am.Nat. 167 (6), 879-888
  • More publications



International Summer School

„How to model human decision making in social-ecological agent-based models”

5-10 July 2015, Kohren-Sahlis (near Leipzig)

More Information:

Junior Research Group

„Global food security policies and their social-ecological side effects in regions prone to global change”