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Department of Biogeography

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein

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Schweiger, A*; ym, C: AD FONTES for a better understanding of regional-scale climate change effects
Talk, BayCEER Workshop 2013: Tracing the Life of Research Ideas, University of Bayreuth, H8, GEO: 2013-10-10

Current assessments of climate change are mainly based on knowledge from local case studies, which are used to model regional to global-scale effects. However, this conventional approach contains a lot of uncertainties as interplay and feedback effects within ecosystems act on a larger than local-scale. Therefore approaches that integrate climate and biotic components of terrestrial ecosystems on landscape-scale will improve decision-making in the forthcoming climate change. Biomonitoring using forest springs appears to be a reliable tool as water including solutes from the whole catchment, converges at the spring sites and stenoecious spring vegetation reacts sensitive to shifts in water physicochemistry. In our project we assess the potential of forest springs to evaluate climate change effects on landscape-scale ecosystem processes. Based on a 24 year long time series of spring water and vegetation analyses from springs in the lower mountain range of north-eastern Bavaria we investigate the long- and short-term ecological response of springs to gradual and sudden climatic shifts. First results show, that bioindication of spring site communities reflects gradually but also abrupt changes in environmental conditions rapidly and very sensitively. As comparable environmental settings, which characterize the studied region, occur throughout whole Central Europe, results from our regional-scale study hold the potential for a more reliable upscaling to a supra-regional-scale.
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