Observed Impacts of Extreme Climate Events on Wild Species

Friday, February 15, 2013
Room 302 (Hynes Convention Center)
Camille Parmesan , University of Texas, Austin, TX
A century of long-term observations and detailed experiments reveals the disproportionate impact of severe weather events and extreme climatic periods on the ecology and general health of wild species.  There is evidence that anthropogenic climate change has already altered the frequency and severity of certain extreme events.  Although analyses of biological responses to climate change often use simple climate metrics, such as mean annual temperature, the true underlying drivers of biological responses are more likely to be changes in magnitude, timing and frequencies of climate extremes.  This talk will explore responses of wild species and natural systems to recent climate extremes, and discuss the implications for long-term impacts of anthropogenic climate change.  Edith's checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha) will be used as a case study to explore the complex relationships between the local impacts of single extreme climate events and long-term shifts in species' distributions on a continental scale in response to on-going global warming.