Climate Change Ecology Group: Monitoring, Modelling & Managing Microclimates Workshop

Bringing together climate modellers and ecologists to determine how microclimate can be included in predictions of responses to climate change.

Climate Change Ecology

One way that individuals and populations could survive in locations despite climate warming is by exploiting suitable microclimates within landscapes, caused by heterogenous topography and differing vegetation cover. Cutting-edge sensor technology and novel modelling approaches are rapidly improving our understanding of the drivers and processes behind ecological responses to climate change, yet there are no guidelines as yet on how to best include considerations of microclimate within predictions for the future. This meeting will bring together climate modellers and ecologists to determine how microclimate can be included in predictions of responses to climate change, while also informing conservation managers of the potential for mitigating impacts of climate change by managing microclimates.

In this workshop, speakers (both ecologists and climatologists) will focus on breaking down the disciplinary divides to model climate at resolutions comparable to the highest accuracy wildlife data we have available. Debbie Hemming (UK Met Office) will begin with a plenary on how global-scale climate modellers are increasingly capturing and including fine-scale effects in their models, discussing the increased representation of ecological interactions this demands, and asking how an interdisciplinary approach could benefit specialists in both climate and ecology. Subsequent talks will move towards the finer-scale, with a focus on the interaction between the pressures of climate change on wildlife, and the opportunities that microclimate could provide.

The morning session will close with an overview of a unique meta-review of the efficacy of direct microclimatic interventions: conservation actions designed to ‘offset’ climate change, thereby buffering wildlife from adverse effects. In the afternoon, participants will break into small groups to discuss the different requirements for microclimate information at different scales, and the ways in which different types of organisms might respond to or be impacted by variation in microclimates. These small group discussions will be facilitated by a note-taker, with the general consensus being included within a methods paper to be written for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

As a whole, the workshop will both enable ecologists to confidently begin to include microclimate data in predictions of responses to climate change and inform conservation managers of the potential for mitigating impacts of climate change by managing microclimatic conditions.

Programme

10.00-10.30 – Coffee

10.30-10.40 Welcome
10.40-11.20: From global to local: bridging the gap between climatologists and ecologists (plenary session)
Debbie Hemming (UK Met Office, Exeter)
11.20-11.40: Modelling climates at ecophysiologically relevant scales
Mike Kearney (University of Melbourne, Australia)
11.40-12.00: Microclimate in montane systems: understanding the phenology of Alpine plants
Christian Körner (University of Basel, Switzerland)
12.00-12.20: Microclimates and African birds
Andrew Bladon (Cambridge University)
12.20-12.40: Microclimates and biotic interactions
Barbara Anderson (Landcare Research, New Zealand)
12.40-13.00: Manipulating microclimate: how can we take advantage of microclimate effects to conserve climate-threatened species?
Owen Greenwood (University of Exeter)

13.00-14.00: Lunch and posters

14:00-15:00: Breakout session 1
Participants will discuss the scales at which microclimates might vary and share techniques for modelling this, along with their advantages and disadvantages
15:00-16:00: Breakout session 2
Participants will discuss the ways that organisms might respond to and/or exploit differences in microclimates and the ways these can be monitored

16:00-16:30: Summary and closing remarks
An overview of the notes taken by facilitators during the breakout sessions

Register

Register before Monday 4 September.

REGISTER HERE