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Ecological Process and Climate Change (EPACS)
Start date: Aug 6, 2012, End date: Aug 5, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Climate change is a major threat to biodiversity: this project provides knowledge in the ecological response to climate change which is necessary to achieve Europe’s conservation commitments. Criticism emerging from the conservation sector demonstrates that academic climate impacts analysis is not engaging with the practicalities of conservation, especially the requirement for local habitat management to mitigate the threat posed by global climate change. This project shifts the evidence base from the widely researched area of bioclimatic modelling (which quantifies a species’ exposure to climate change) towards the investigation of ecological sensitivity consistent with local habitat management. It focuses on a European habitat of global significance – cool temperate rainforest – with symbiotic organisms (lichen epiphytes) providing an appropriate model system. It examines two ecologically-similar lichen species, though with contrasting dispersal modes, in order to understand how climatic sensitivity might be determined by the interaction between life-history traits and a hierarchical range of environmental factors. This hierarchy spans the symbiotic interaction, micro-habitat factors, stand structure and macroclimate. With an emphasis on training and career development, the project includes complimentary field sampling, molecular analysis, experimental design and advanced statistics. The project will provide information that is directly relevant to forestry policy and habitat management, and therefore includes a strong knowledge exchange component."
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