Lilian Patricia Sales
ProjectClimate-based models to assist the preservation of biodiversity (in all its complexity)
Animals and plants vary so enormously that no two places on the planet host the exact same species. The geography of life on Earth arises from the locations where species are found together, in addition to the associations they establish with each other. However, in face of global climate change, biodiversity is and will continue to change. Combined, species and their associations are critical to the maintenance of the nature’s integrity and its benefits towards humans. In order to adapt to the further impacts of climate change, we need robust models that allow us to predict how biodiversity will change. Current models have weak predictive abilities to estimate whether future species combinations, that will be mashed together with no or little previous history of interactions, will be able to coexist well within their novel ecosystems. Here, I propose to develop novel quantitative models that incorporate how future changes in species associations will affect the functioning of ecosystems. These models are intended to improve our understanding of biodiversity change and to generate conservation-relevant information. The products of the proposed research will assist more precise and robust conservation strategies in face of climate change.