Review Article | Published:

Ecological responses to recent climate change

Nature volume 416, pages 389395 (28 March 2002) | Download Citation

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Abstract

There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change, from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The responses of both flora and fauna span an array of ecosystems and organizational hierarchies, from the species to the community levels. Despite continued uncertainty as to community and ecosystem trajectories under global change, our review exposes a coherent pattern of ecological change across systems. Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological responses to recent climate change are already clearly visible.

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Acknowledgements

We thank J. A. Pounds for suggestions and A. Hoppe for assistance with graphics design. Data on spring arrival of birds in northern Germany were provided by O. Hüppop. G.-R.W. received funding from the Swiss NSF and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich, E.P. acknowledges the financial support of the NSF, A.M. is funded by the 5th FP EU-project POSITIVE and C.P. acknowledges the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CEFE, Montpellier).

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Affiliations

  1. *Institute of Geobotany, University of Hannover, Nienburger Str. 17, 30167 Hannover, Germany

    • Gian-Reto Walther
  2. †Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, 208 Mueller Lab, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA

    • Eric Post
  3. ‡British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK

    • Peter Convey
  4. §Department of Ecology, Technical University Munich, Am Hochanger 13, 85354 Freising, Germany

    • Annette Menzel
  5. Integrative Biology, Patterson Labs 141, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712, USA

    • Camille Parmesan
  6. ¶School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QG, UK

    • Trevor J. C. Beebee
  7. #IFREMER, Centre Halieutique Méditerranéen et Tropical, Bvld Jean Monnet, BP 171, 34203 Sète Cedex, France

    • Jean-Marc Fromentin
  8. Centre for Marine Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia, 4072 Queensland, Australia

    • Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
  9. **Institute for Avian Research ‘Vogelwarte Helgoland’, An der Vogelwarte 21, 26386 Wilhelmshaven, Germany

    • Franz Bairlein

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Correspondence to Gian-Reto Walther.

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