Hanna Akiko Nomoto

Climate change influences plant communities through changes in abiotic factors (e.g. temperature and precipitation), but also indirectly through changes in biotic factors, such as the presence and abundance of competitors, pollinators and herbivores. By studying how plant species respond to changes in abiotic and biotic factors, we hope to better understand and predict current and future changes in plant communities as a consequence of climate change. Most previous studies have focused on understanding the direct consequences of climate change in plants, while the importance of indirect consequences such as novel biotic interactions remains less understood. However, to be able to understand and predict consequences of climate change in plant communities, the role of indirect responses of climate change is necessary to understand.

During my PhD I aim to better understand the ecological and evolutionary responses of alpine plant species to future changes in climate. My focus will be on understanding how novel biotic interactions, as an indirect effect of climate change, influence alpine plant communities.

The research is based on a large-scale transplant experiment performed across an altitudinal gradient from 1400 to 2150 m a.s.l., where whole plant communities have been transplanted to lower elevation to simulate future climate scenarios with increased temperatures. Individuals of focal alpine species transplanted into these communities either compete with their current competitors, or future novel competitors that are predicted to migrate to higher elevations.

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