Climate is currently changing. These changes will have a variety of effects on biological systems, at various levels spanning from the physiological to the ecosystem level. Zoologists, among others, need to address the question of how climate changes (and variation) affect biological process at these different levels of organization, and they need to do so in an integrated manner. With this view in mind, Integrative Zoology is pleased to present this special issue on “the biological consequences of global change” in 2010, Vol. 5, No. 2, which is guest edited by Dr. Nils Chr. Stenseth.
This special issue is linked to a larger initiative of the International Society of Zoological Sciences, namely, its flagship research program with the same title: the “Biological Consequences of Global Change” (BCGC). This special issue is the first in a series of such issues: during the period 2010 to 2012. Integrative Zoology plan to publish one such special issue per year.
The BCGC is sponsored by Bureau of International Cooperation, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The program was recently (October 2009) adopted by the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), at its 30th General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, as a new International Scientific Program of IUBS. The focus of this international research program is to organize a broadly composed group of scientists (many of which being represented in this special issue of Integrative Zoology) from all over the world having expertise in a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines relevant for studies of the biological consequences of global change. The program aims to analyze, share and integrate international scientific research and data with the goal of providing a sound scientific basis for addressing the effects that global change is already having or is likely to have on biodiversity, conservation and biological disasters.
This special issue of Integrative Zoology contains five review papers and four original papers on the topic of the biological consequences of global change. The five reviews cover a broad spectrum of topics of great relevance to the overall topic of BCGC: Jussi Eronen and his colleagues outline an approach –ecometrics – for understanding the biology of climate change that integrates data at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Susan Mainka and Geoffrey Howard probe the impacts of biological invasions on biodiversity and the way in which climate change and biological invasions interact. Francis Dov Por shows how a combination of general warming of the Mediterranean Sea and contact with the Indopacific world through the Suez Canal has set the stage for massive changes in the biota that inhabit the sea. John Buckeridge compares and discusses the impact environmental climatic change has had on acorn barnacles and eucalyptus trees. Alain Roques and Christelle Robinet review the key impacts of global warming on insect development and dispersal.
The four original papers cover an equally broad spectrum of BCGC topics:
Heidi Bustamante and her colleagues delve into the controversy over whether or not climate changes (particularly global warming) are causing outbreaks of a lethal amphibian pathogen, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Renqiang Li and her colleagues use a generalized additive model to predict the current and future ranges of 63 Galliformes in China, based on a comprehensive species occurrence database and a combination of climate variables. Chloé Cadby and her colleagues use data from two populations of a viviparous lizard at the climatic extreme of the species distribution to examine how climate at different scales affects two key life history traits: offspring date of birth and size at birth. Zhibin Zhang and his colleagues present research on the effect of El Nino-Southern Oscillation-driven precipitations on population irruptions of the Yangtze vole in southern China.
It is our hope that this special feature will help the scientific community focus, in an integrative manner, on the effect of climate change on biological processes and structures.To access full text of the special issue
(provided by Dr. XIONG Wen-Hua)