Understanding how biotic and abiotic factors influence the abundance and distribution of organisms has become more important with the growing awareness of the ecological consequences of climate change. In this article, we outline an approach that complements bioclimatic envelope modeling in quantifying the effects of climate change at the species level. The global population dynamics approach, which relies on distribution-wide, data-driven analyses of dynamics, goes beyond quantifying biotic interactions in population dynamics to identify hot spots of response to climate change. Such hot spots highlight populations or locations within species' distributions that are particularly sensitive to climate change, and identification of them should focus conservation and management efforts. An important result of the analyses highlighted here is pronounced variation at the species level in the strength and direction of population responses to warming. Although this variation complicates species-level predictions of responses to climate change, the global population dynamics approach may improve our understanding of the complex implications of climate change for species persistence or extinction.
© 2009, American Institute of Biological Sciences. See the original publication here.