The mechanics of range shifts in a warming world

Jennifer Sunday1

1 Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4,  Sunday@biodiversity.ubc.ca,  @jennsunday

As the world has warmed, species distributions have moved polewards in latitude, upwards in elevation and deeper in depth. This global redistribution calls on ecologists to apply long-standing hypotheses about the factors that limit species distributions. Here I present macrophysiological analyses showing that marine and terrestrial ectotherms differ in the extent to which they are physiologically limited within their distributional range. I use records of species’ range shifts to further elucidate the relative roles of species traits and ecological interactions in mediating range shifts in a warming world. From this and other work, I review emerging generalities on the ecology and mechanics of climate range shifts.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.


Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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