Towards a better understanding of species responses to climate change by integrating data and approaches across disciplines and scales

Dr Christian Hof1, Eva Katharina Engelhardt1, Matthias  Biber1, Dr. Imran Khaliq2

1Biodiversity and Global Change Lab, Terrestrial Ecology Research Group, Technical University Of Munich, Freising, Germany, 2Department of Zoology, Ghazi University, Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan

Climate change is one of the major drivers of recent biodiversity change. Responses of species to changes in climatic conditions, e.g. via shifts in their distributions, are frequently documented. However, a lack of integration of data across geographical scales and from different disciplines still impedes progress towards a more comprehensive understanding of species responses to global change.

Here, we combine species occurrence data with data on temperature preferences based on biogeographical analyses as well as on physiological experiments in order to analyse (1) temporal trends in distributions of selected bird, butterfly, dragonfly, and grasshopper species in Bavaria over the last decades and (2) intra- and interspecific patterns of thermal tolerances of different arthropod taxa along elevational gradients in Pakistan.

Our results (which are still preliminary upon abstract submission) suggest (1) that warm-adapted species show range expansions in Bavaria and (2) that microclimatic conditions influence the elevational patterns of thermal tolerances of insects and spiders in different mountain ranges of Pakistan.

With both study examples we demonstrate how the inter-disciplinary integration of data and methods from biogeography, physiology and ecology as well as across taxonomic and spatial scales may both confirm and challenge current assumptions on species responses to climate change. Thereby, we outline pathways for the development of more realistic projections of global change impacts on biodiversity.


Christian Hof studied biology at the University of Marburg (Germany). Between 2007 and 2010 he conducted his PhD at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) at the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate and at the National Museum for Natural Sciences Madrid (Spain). After another year as postdoc in Copenhagen he moved to the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt (Germany). Since 2015 he is a member of the German Young Academy. Since 2018 he leads a junior research group of the Bavarian Network for Climate Research bayklif at the TU Munich.

Christian studies the distribution of biological diversity in space and time. His scientific work mainly focuses on the impacts of climate change on species distributions and biodiversity of different animal groups. One of the key aims of his research is the integration of data and methods from different disciplines (e.g. ecology, biogeography, physiology, climatology) to develop better projections of the future of global and regional biodiversity in a world of anthropogenic global change.

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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