You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Species-ecosystem relationship / Species-ecosystem relationship (CLIM 026) - Assessment published Sep 2008

Species-ecosystem relationship (CLIM 026) - Assessment published Sep 2008

Indicator Assessment Created 08 Sep 2008 Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 11 Sep 2012, 04:51 PM
Topics: ,

Update planned for November 2012

Key messages

  • The stability of ecosystems and, therefore, the services that they provide, will become increasingly affected by climate change due to species-specific responses and, thus, the disruption of established biotic interactions.
  • The changing range of host species has major implications for range expansions of species and places additional pressures on those of conservation importance.

..

Current distribution range of the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) and its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta)

Note: The map shows the current distribution range of the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) and its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta

Data source:

Schweiger, O.; Settele, J.; Kudrna, O.; Klotz, S. and Kühn, I., 2008. Climate change can cause spatial mismatch of trophically interacting species. Ecology (in press).

Downloads and more info

Relationship between projected distribution space of the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) and its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta) for 2080

Note: Global change scenarios based on storylines developed within the EUfunded project ALARM (Settele et al., 2005, Spangenberg 2007, www.alarmproject.net).

Data source:

Schweiger, O.; Settele, J.; Kudrna, O.; Klotz, S. and Kühn, I., 2008. Climate change can cause spatial mismatch of trophically interacting species. Ecology (in press). Settele, J.; Hammen, V. C.; Hulme, P. E.; Karlson, U.; Klotz, S.; Kotarac, M.; Kunin, W. E.; Marion, G.; O'Connor, M.; Petanidou, T.; Peterson, K.; Potts, S. G.; Pritchard, H.; Pysek, P.; Rounsevell, M.; Spangenberg, J.; SteffanDewenter, I.; Sykes, M. T.; Vighi, M.; Zobel, M. and Kuhn, I., 2005. ALARM: Assessing large scale risks for biodiversity with tested methods. GAIA Ecological Perspectives in Science, Humanities and Economics 14: 9672.

Downloads and more info

Past trends

Many butterfly species are moving northward, but often with overall declines in abundance and range size (Warren et al., 2001). Biotic interactions are important factors in explaining the distributions of butterflies, because they are often host-specific. For example, many parts of Europe are climatically suitable for the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) (Figure 1) and the species may even be able to migrate quickly in response to climate change. However, an important constraint to range expansion is the presence of its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta) (Schweiger et al., in press). Likewise, the current distribution of the clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne) is explained not only by climate suitability, but also by the presence of its Corydalis host plant (Araujo and Luoto, 2007).
Climate change has also had a disruptive effect on Scottish seabird communities and their food webs. During 2004 and 2005, major population crashes have been observed. In Shetland, over 1 000 guillemot nests and 24 000 nests of the Arctic tern were almost entirely deserted, and on the nearby island of  Foula, the world's largest colony of great skuas saw only a few living chicks. The cause was a drastic reduction in the populations of sandeel, their principal food source. The disappearance of the sandeel was due, in turn, to the northward movement of cold-water plankton on which these fish feed. The plankton's range had shifted because the waters between Britain and Scandinavia had become too warm for it to survive there. Since 1984, some seabird species around Scotland have decreased by 60-70 % (CEH, 2005).

Projections

The response to climate change of the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) and its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta) is likely to lead to a reduction in range overlap and, thus, an uncertain future for this specialist butterfly. Played out on a larger scale, these trophic mismatches benefit generalists at the expense of specialists, putting additional pressures on the capacity of ecosystems to provide certain services and on species of conservation importance (McKinney and Lockwood, 1999; Reid et al., 2005; Biesmeijer et al., 2006).

Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

  • Current potential niche space of the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) and its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta)
  • Relationship between projected distribution space of the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) and its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta) for 2080

Units

http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/eea_report_2008_4/pp111-148CC2008_ch5-7to9_Terrestrial_ecosystems_soil_and_agriculture.pdf


Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/adaptation/index_en.htm

Targets

No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/eea_report_2008_4/pp193-207CC2008_ch8_Data_gaps.pdf

Data sets uncertainty

http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/eea_report_2008_4/pp193-207CC2008_ch8_Data_gaps.pdf

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Generic metadata

Topics:

Climate change Climate change (Primary topic)

Tags:
climate change | species | ecosystems
DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CLIM 026
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
2008, 2080
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Hans-Martin Füssel

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2008 2.3.1 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100