Trait-based assessments of climate-change impacts


Our new paper in Trends in Ecology & Evolution suggests that three kinds of functional traits relevant for plant-animal interactions (i.e. response traits, matching traits, and dispersal traits) can significantly advance our ability to predict climate change impacts on interacting species. Such traits will improve assessments of (i) spatial and temporal mismatches in the occurrence and abundance of interacting species, (ii) the formation of novel interactions and secondary extinctions, and (iii) alterations of the dispersal ability of plants. Future research should realize the full potential of available trait data, collect new data on currently under-represented traits, and aim at developing new community models that are flexible enough to account for the coupled responses of interacting species to climate change. The paper is available here.