Across the planet’s terrestrial surface lives a layer of organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Lichens and bryophytes are hosts to these cryptobiotic communities that play a critical role in stabilizing soil, preventing erosion, absorbing rainfall, and providing nutrients for the growing plants around them. This hidden life creates a critical miniature forest that serves as an important habitat for tiny animals and forms a “living skin” found throughout the world, from canyon deserts to polar icecaps.
Study: Tropical Species and Communities Are Responding to Climate Change
The effects of climate change in the tropics are manifesting as changes in species abundances, shifts in ranges, and changes in the timing of life history events, like fruiting and flowering of trees, according to a literature review published in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics and authored by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, professor.
Climate plays a major role in the distribution and abundance of species, and climate change will likely alter life in the tropics.
“One of the clearest signals of the impact of climate change in the tropics has been the upslope movement of a variety of species,” said Kimberly Sheldon, author of the review and assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “With warming, we would predict species would move toward higher elevations, and we see that tropical birds, moths, trees, and herpetofauna are all shifting upslope.”
Recognitions, April 21
- Accomplished faculty, staff, and students were honored Wednesday evening at the annual Chancellor’s Honors Banquet, the university’s largest recognition event of the year. See a full list of 2017 awardees here.
- Charles Sanft, associate professor of history, has been named a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies.
- Sergey Gavrilets, distinguished professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Mathematics, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- Wardell Milan, a New York City-based visual artist, will be recognized for his accomplishments as part of UT’s African American Trailblazer Series on Tuesday, April 25.
Four UT Researchers Named 2016 AAAS Fellows
Four UT researchers are among the 2016 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Brian Wirth, Karen Hughes, and George Ostrouchov hold various positions on the UT Knoxville campus; Baohua Gu from the UT Institute of Agriculture also was selected.