MRI News
cane toad 200x150IPBES is calling for experts with relevant knowledge and/or experience to participate in the assessment of invasive alien species. All governments and relevant organizations or institutions are encouraged to submit nominations.

Nominees should have expertise related to the themes and skills required for the chapters of the assessment as set out in its scoping document (available here). They should be experts on invasive alien species within one or more of the following disciplines: natural sciences; social sciences; or the humanities; be indigenous and local knowledge experts, or have expertise in indigenous and local knowledge systems; or be policy experts and practitioners. All nominees should have experience in working within interdisciplinary and/or international contexts.

Read more: Call for Nomination of Experts | IPBES Assessment of Invasive Alien Species

South Africa Agave 200x152A new paper published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation models the current and future ranges of montane plant species in South Africa and Lesotho - and finds a contraction in species ranges towards higher elevation in response to climate warming. 

The modelled responses of plants used in this study show a decline in potential distribution as climate changes, and therefore suggest potentially increased vulnerability. This is a cause for concern for these southern African regions which are high in biodiversity and endemism.

Read more: New Publication | Range Contraction to a Higher Elevation: The Likely Future of the Montane...

praying mantis smallWhile temperatures in the tropical forests of northeastern Puerto Rico have climbed two degrees Celsius since the mid-1970s, the biomass of arthropods – invertebrate animals such as insects, millipedes, and sowbugs – has declined by as much as 60-fold, according to new findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The finding supports the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warnings of severe environmental threats given a 2.0 degree Celsius elevation in global temperature. Like some other tropical locations, the study area in the Luquillo rainforest has already reached or exceeded a 2.0 degree Celsius rise in average temperature, and the study finds that the consequences are potentially catastrophic.  

Read more: Climate-driven declines in arthropod abundance restructure a rainforest food web

water 1759703 640Water-stable isotopic (WSI) data is widely used in hydrological modelling investigations. However, the long-term monitoring of these tracers at high-temporal resolution (sub-hourly) remains challenging due to technical and financial limitations. Thus, alternative tracers that allow continuous high-frequency monitoring for identifying fast-occurring hydrological processes via numerical simulations are needed.

This study used a flexible numerical flow-partitioning model (TraSPAN) that simulates tracer mass balance and water flux response to investigate the relative contributions of event (new) and pre-event (old) water fractions to total runoff. Four TraSPAN structures were tested that represent different hydrological functioning to simulate storm flow partitioning for an event in a headwater forested temperate catchment in Western Oregon, USA using four-hour WSI and 0.25-h electrical conductivity (EC) data.

Read more: New Publication | Flow Partitioning Modelling Using High-Resolution Isotopic and Electrical...

MRD October2018 Cover smallThe latest issue of the open access journal Mountain Research and Development is now available online – and contains two articles related to the MRI co-led GEO Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME) initiative!

The latest issue of Mountain Research and Development (MRD) asks the question, 'what makes a mountain a mountain?' Answers to this question are complex, and have significant implications. As Roger Sayre and his co-authors – MRI Executive Director Carolina Adler among them – write in this issue of MRD, "knowing exactly where mountain ecosystems are distributed on the planet is a precursor to conserving them."

Read more: GEO-GNOME Featured in Mountain Research and Development

yosemite smallAn estimated three-quarters of the water used by farms, ranches, and dairies in California originates as snow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, but the future viability of that resource is projected to be at heightened risk due to global climate change.

In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of California, Irvine (UCI) researchers argue that a 1.0 degree Celsius increase in the global average winter temperature will lead to a 20 percent jump in the likelihood of below-average snow accumulation in the high country, resulting in lower spring runoff. In this article, the authors describe how snow water equivalent, an important measure of water availability, and the elevation of the snowpack respond to different levels of warming.

Read more: Reduced Sierra Nevada snowmelt runoff may threaten California agriculture

marmot 1960Mountains are among the most biodiverse places on Earth, but scientists have struggled to fully understand why they are so important in creating high species richness. An international research team has now shed new light on answering this long-standing question in a paper published in Nature Geoscience earlier this month.

The team found that mountain building, through a process of uplift and erosion, continuously reshapes the landscape and is responsible for creating habitat heterogeneity in an elevational gradient. "The complex interplay between growing mountains and climate generates plenty of opportunities for the creation of new species," says Carina Hoorn, Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam and senior author of a paper summarizing the team's findings. "Although climate and ruggedness of the terrain were previously thought to be the principal cause for mountain biodiversity, our global synthesis now makes clear that geological history plays a paramount role in this process," explains Hoorn.

Read more: Mountains Create Biodiversity