Biodiversity and Climate
Much of the physical and social science at the Environment Institute address biodiversity and climate change issues.
These capabilities look to simultaneously address cost, climate change resilience and future biodiversity outcomes over expansive landscapes.
Relevant active research at the Environment Institute includes:
- Optimising biodiversity corridors, beyond simple linkages, for ecosystem resilience.
- The impact of climate change combined with other human-driven changes on biodiversity
- Understanding and predicting how systems will change to forecast biodiversity responses with climate change
- Quantifying potential extinction threats and enhancing our responses
- Feasible and cost-effective ways to prevent biodiversity loss
- Water and climate change interactions with biodiversity
For example, conservation planning for climate adaptation in Australia has so far emphasised the need for ecological connectivity of remnant vegetation but not incorporated the evolutionary drivers that maximise adaptation. New sequencing methods can quantify the importance of environmental gradients for genes that are resilient to drought, pathogens, climate change and migration. Resilience estimates can then be directly incorporated into planning for major continental-scale biodiversity corridors. Planning can then progress beyond the simple linking up of remnant vegetation, based on aerial maps, and start incorporating ecosystem features which will promote climate adaptation.
Further details on this work are in the EI Biodiversity & Climate Research Booklet (1MB pdf)
Listen to Professor Andy Lowe talk about Biodiversity corridors in the Adelaide Hills: