Seminar: Plant Population Responses to Environmental Change
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is excited to host a seminar by Dr. Tom Miller.
Abstract: Understanding abiotic drivers of distribution and abundance is a central mission of ecology. This challenge takes on renewed urgency in the face of ongoing changes in our global abiotic environment. This seminar will focus on two dimensions of climatic variability – temporal and geographic – as they relate to the viability and dynamics of plant populations. First, I will describe research that evaluates how shifting plant phenology under the advancing arrival of spring can affect plant demography and population viability. Working with aspen sunflowers in the Rocky Mountains, we show that early flowering can result in reproductive failure, but it is other, less conspicuous demographic responses that drive the loss of population viability under early spring arrival. Second, I will present research that asks how geographic variation in climate across a species’ range contributes to the formation of range boundaries. Working with a dioecious grass species, we show that females and males can exhibit unique responses to climate drivers across the range, but the loss of population viability beyond range edges is driven primarily by female demographic responses. Collectively, this work demonstrates how attention to the relationships between climate drivers and individual-level demographic rates can inform understanding how climate change may alter patterns of distribution and abundance.
Friday, October 19, 2018 at 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Science & Engineering Building, 307
1414 Circle Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996