Earth and Environmental Sciences

Adaptation to Climate Change through the Lens of Ecosystem Impacts
Jessica J. Hellman, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame

As the last ice age ended and the Holocene began, many species moved over vast geographic areas to where we find them today. Now the climate is changing again, as much as 6 degrees C within 100 years, and biological systems are expected to move again—if they can. Where species cannot move easily because human civilization stands in the way, populations and species can go extinct and ecosystem goods and services can decline. In these cases, humans can intervene in new ways to help species or ecosystems tolerate or "adapt" to climate change. I will discuss some emerging ideas for adaptation of biological resources as an example of climate change impacts and adaptation strategies. I also will discuss how we might prioritize species for possible intervention and how other aspects of human adaptation to climate change will have side effects in natural ecosystems.

Background review article
Richardson, D. M., J. J. Hellmann, J. S. McLachlan, D. F. Sax, M. W. Schwartz, P. Gonzalez, E. J. Brennan, A. Camacho, T. L. Root, O. E. Sala, S. H. Schneider, D. M. Ashe, J. Rappaport Clark, R. Early, J. R. Etterson, E. D. Fielder, J. L. Gill, B. A. Minterr, S. Polasky, H. D. Safford, A. R. Thompson, and M. Vellend. 2009. Multidimensional evaluation of managed relocation. Proceeding National Academy of Science 106: 9721-9724.

Pelini, S. L., J. D. K. Dzurisin, K. M. Prior, C. M. Williams, T. D. Marsico, B. J. Sinclair, and J. J. Hellmann. 2009. Translocation experiments with butterflies reveal limits to enhancement of poleward populations under climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 106: 11160-11165.

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Earth and Environmental Sciences

Kavli Frontiers of Science PRO

This channel contains session presentations that cover earth science and environmental science topics from the Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series of the National Academy of Sciences.

For additional symposium information, please visit our web


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This channel contains session presentations that cover earth science and environmental science topics from the Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series of the National Academy of Sciences.

For additional symposium information, please visit our web site (nasonline.org/kfos).

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