Adaptation and Climate (Project Area C, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BIK-F)

Background and Goals

In July 2008, the Hessen State Initiative to Support Scientific and Economic Excellence (LOEWE) established a new interdisciplinary research center- The Biodiversity and Climate Research Center - BiK-F in Frankfurt am Main. The scientific concept of the research center possesses a matrix structure with time-process axis and a spatial axis. On the time-process axis is a large scale (Evolution and climate), medium scale (biodiversity dynamics and climate) and small scale processes (adaptation and climate) were examined. On the spatial axis marine and terrestrial systems are available in the form of tropical / subtropical, temperate and alpine / polar climates. This scientific concept was implemented into six research areas (project areas), covering a total of 25 project groups. One of these project areas is concerned with adaptation and climate. Within this project area C, the following projects can be found:

  • The forest of the future Biological archives of climatic changes: speed and quality of genomic adaptation of ecological keystone species
  • Environmental, phenotypic and genotypic differentiation of coldness indicators on the edge of their range
  • Adaptation potential of individual species and communities to climate change combined with other stressors
  • Evolutionary adaptation potential to climate-related fitness traits of ecological keystone species
  • "C4" Grasses in West Africa: evolution, physiology and complex changes in climate and land use changes

Objectives:
How do species and communities respond to impending climate change? To answer this question, the Project Area C investigated mainly processes that occur as a result of ecological and ecophysiological adaptations (Akklimatisationen) or can be caused by rapid genetic selection within a few generations. Studies, both in the terrestrial environment (examples mainly of forests and soil) and in the aquatic environments (lakes, rivers, marine plankton) were conducted.

Key factors in the future due to climate change in terrestrial ecosystems will be increased temperature and increased drought, in aquatic ecosystems it will be an increase in temperature and changes in the water regime. For both groups ecosystems were also examined as to how climate change works in combination with other stressors (eg, environmental chemicals, invasive species). A central question is whether and how the upcoming climate changes are evolutionarily compensated in a reasonable time (decades to centuries) of species and communities.

Methodical field analysis, laboratory experiments and semi-field analysis (mesocosm experiments) were used. Here, on the one hand, biologically and genetically well-known model species were studied (eg species of Quercus, Panicum, Daphnia, Chironomus), on the other hand were selected major taxonomic units (eg Calanoidea, Coleoptera) and communities (eg forest insects, soil organisms).

Specific questions include

  • What are the changes and adjustments throughout Central Europe (mainly Germany, and Hessen) and in the tropics (mainly Africa)?
  • What will be difference in aquatic systems (marine and inland water systems) from terrestrial?
  • Which genomic changes are currently observed and expected in the future?
  • What archived genetic analysis of biological information is available to us in the form of preserved resting stages in sediments and in museum collections from past decades and centuries?
  • hould strategies for prevention and protection measures be derived?

Content time

Research area/region

Country
  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Hesse
Spatial resolution 

South Hessian Rhine river plain ("Forest of the future")
Small-scale geographical classification of natural landscapes: Rüsselsheim, Lampertsheim ("Forest of the future")

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

It will explore climate change impacts on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (forest management, water)

Participants

Funding / Financing 

involved: Specifically for the project "The Forest of the Future": Hessen-Forst, the Northwest German Forest Research Institute (NW-FVA, Göttingen), the Hessian State Office for Environment and Geology (HLUG, Wiesbaden), the ECT Ecotoxicology GmbH (Florsheim), the city Rüsselsheim and other partners

Cooperation/Partners 

involved: Specifically for the project "The Forest of the Future": Hessen-Forst, the Northwest German Forest Research Institute (NW-FVA, Göttingen), the Hessian State Office for Environment and Geology (HLUG, Wiesbaden), the ECT Ecotoxicology GmbH (Florsheim), the city Rüsselsheim and other partners

Contact

J. W. Goethe - Universität Frankfurt
Biologie-Campus, Haus A
Siesmayerstrasse 70-72
60323 Frankfurt am Main

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Fields of action:
 coastal and marine protection  woodland and forestry