A demographic approach to study effects of climate change in desert plants

Salguero-Gomez, Roberto, Siewert, Wolfgang, Casper, Brenda B. and Tielboerger, Katja (2012) A demographic approach to study effects of climate change in desert plants. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 367 1606: 3100-3114. doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0074

Author Salguero-Gomez, Roberto
Siewert, Wolfgang
Casper, Brenda B.
Tielboerger, Katja
Title A demographic approach to study effects of climate change in desert plants
Journal name Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-8436
Publication date 2012-11-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rstb.2012.0074
Volume 367
Issue 1606
Start page 3100
End page 3114
Total pages 15
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Desert species respond strongly to infrequent, intense pulses of precipitation. Consequently, indigenous flora has developed a rich repertoire of life-history strategies to deal with fluctuations in resource availability. Examinations of how future climate change will affect the biota often forecast negative impacts, but these—usually correlative—approaches overlook precipitation variation because they are based on averages. Here, we provide an overview of how variable precipitation affects perennial and annual desert plants, and then implement an innovative, mechanistic approach to examine the effects of precipitation on populations of two desert plant species. This approach couples robust climatic projections, including variable precipitation, with stochastic, stage-structured models constructed from long-term demographic datasets of the short-lived Cryptantha flava in the Colorado Plateau Desert (USA) and the annual Carrichtera annua in the Negev Desert (Israel). Our results highlight these populations' potential to buffer future stochastic precipitation. Population growth rates in both species increased under future conditions: wetter, longer growing seasons for Cryptantha and drier years for Carrichtera. We determined that such changes are primarily due to survival and size changes for Cryptantha and the role of seed bank for Carrichtera. Our work suggests that desert plants, and thus the resources they provide, might be more resilient to climate change than previously thought.
Keyword Demographic buffering
Climate change
Integral projection model
Periodic population matrix model
Stochastic population growth rate (lambda(S))
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
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