Ph.d.-defense Chelsea Chisholm – Københavns Universitet

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Ph.d.-defense Chelsea Chisholm

Functional traits drive plant community and ecosystem response to global change across arctic and alpine environments

While both abiotic and biotic factors influence community composition and ecosystem properties, the combined effects of both under climate change are still unknown. In this thesis I attempt to disentangle the relative importance of these two factors using information on functional traits in alpine and arctic plant communities and investigate how underlying trait variation contributes to species coexistence and ecosystem functioning. My thesis mainly focuses on experimental and observational research in mountain systems, which are ideal testbeds for questions on the impacts of climate change due to their high biodiversity, natural gradients in climatic factors and prevalence across the globe. Alpine areas, along with the Arctic, are expected to be severely impacted by climate change in the future. Understanding the response of these regions to interacting global change drivers is essential to forecasting shifts in species distributions and ecosystem functioning in the future.

Committee:

  • Hans Henrik Bruun
  • Sandra Lavorel
  • Signe Normand

Supervisors:

  • Nate Sanders
  • Carsten Rahbek