Scaling the drivers and consequences of biodiversity change

Biological diversity is intrinsically scale-dependent, and understanding its scaling properties may help us better manage and conserve it. Factors such as invasive alien species, climate change or habitat fragmentation can have strikingly different effects on local diversity and on coarser-scale (regional or global) diversity, and indeed it may be possible to deduce the drivers of change from their spatial “signatures”. In this project different drivers of biodiversity change will be modelled in collaboration with colleagues at Stellenbosch University, and  predictions against UK and SA biodiversity datasets will be tested. How ecological functions such as photosynthesis or nutrient fluxes are affected by scale will also be tested, and models developed how this affects the much-studied relationship between biodiversity  and function. In addition to direct collaborators in this work, interaction with other STIAS fellows and Stellenbosch researchers in the natural and social sciences with interests in spatial and temporal scaling issues will be sought and an informal workshop will be organised to build collaborative links.

Project leader(s):
  • William Kunin (Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds)

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