Biome shifts and species distribution modelling

South Africa hosts an exceptionally rich plant biodiversity. However, it is anticipated that climate change will lead to shifts in the distribution of plant species. The collective shifts of multiple species in turn implies that entire biomes may shift. Furthermore the possibility exists that novel biomes may assemble as climate changes.

This EMSAfrica work package uses a combination of field monitoring – using BISMOPs (biome shift monitoring phytometers) - and process-based species distribution modelling to assess species, biodiversity and biome shifts. As the basis of this work, we are using existing SANBI and SAEON datasets on the distribution of vascular plants in South Africa and creating new monitoring data on how the plant growth forms that define biomes are responding to climate change.


Team: Steven Higgins, (subproject lead, University of Bayreuth), Henning Nottebrock (University of Bayreuth), Jasper Slingsby (SAEON)