Emerging Ecosystems - Functional Dynamics under Global Change
Changes in land use and climate, invading
species (including pathogens and their vectors) as well as chemical stressors
alter environmental conditions into those previously not encountered. Species
interact with their environment through functional traits. Depending on the
perspective and question, (i) species respond via traits to the environment allowing
the species to survive and reproduce and (ii) traits can have an effect on
ecosystems, i.e. altering ecological conditions in a system. Newly emerging
environmental conditions will hence act as selective drivers changing
communities to exhibit new trait compositions and altered ecological functions.
This will have consequences on ecosystem services (ESS) demanded by society
such as pest regulation, nutrient provision, carbon sequestration etc. Here we
will analyse how emerging environmental conditions will impact crucial
ecosystem functions underlying ESS.
There is evidence that the functional response of ecosystems to temporal changes is non-linear. We assume that response trajectories can be modified by suitable management measures, considering appropriate temporal and spatial scales.
The Integrated Project Emerging Ecosystems intends to develop hierarchies of drivers determining ecosystem compositions, i.e. ranking relative importance of different drivers mentioned above and their constituent elements. This will enable us to synthesize appropriate measures across scales in the temporal hierarchy to manage emerging ecosystems (e.g. treatment of non-native species, optimal land management, adaptations to climate change) in order to provide ecosystem functions for desired ecosystem services.
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