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Differing climatic mechanisms control transient and accumulated vegetation novelty in Europe and eastern North America

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  • Kevin D Burke, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 550 N. Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
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  • John W Williams, Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 550 N. Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
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  • Simon Brewer, Department of Geography, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84119, USA.
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  • Walter Finsinger, Palaeoecology, ISEM (UMR 5554 CNRS/UM/EPHE), Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France.
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  • Thomas Giesecke, Department of Physical Geography, Faculty Geoscience, Utrecht University, PO Box 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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  • David J Lorenz, Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 550 N. Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
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  • Alejandro Ordonez

Understanding the mechanisms of climate that produce novel ecosystems is of joint interest to conservation biologists and palaeoecologists. Here, we define and differentiate transient from accumulated novelty and evaluate four climatic mechanisms proposed to cause species to reshuffle into novel assemblages: high climatic novelty, high spatial rates of change (displacement), high variance among displacement rates for individual climate variables, and divergence among displacement vector bearings. We use climate simulations to quantify climate novelty, displacement and divergence across Europe and eastern North America from the last glacial maximum to the present, and fossil pollen records to quantify vegetation novelty. Transient climate novelty is consistently the strongest predictor of transient vegetation novelty, while displacement rates (mean and variance) are equally important in Europe. However, transient vegetation novelty is lower in Europe and its relationship to climatic predictors is the opposite of expectation. For both continents, accumulated novelty is greater than transient novelty, and climate novelty is the strongest predictor of accumulated ecological novelty. These results suggest that controls on novel ecosystems vary with timescale and among continents, and that the twenty-first century emergence of novelty will be driven by both rapid rates of climate change and the emergence of novel climate states. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'The past is a foreign country: how much can the fossil record actually inform conservation?'

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Vol/bind374
Nummer1788
Sider (fra-til)20190218
ISSN0962-8436
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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