Can species cope with predicted climate variability?
The peak of biological activities in Arctic ecosystems is characterized by a relative short and intense period between the start of snowmelt until the onset of frost. Recent climate changes have induced larger seasonal variation in both timing of snowmelt as well as changes mean temperatures and precipitation. Concurrently, phenological change has been recorded in a wide range of plants and animals, with climate change seemingly being the primary driver of these changes. A major concern is whether species and biological systems embrace the plasticity in their phenological responses needed for tracking the predicted increase in climate variability. Whereas species may show relatively high phenological resilience to climate change per se, the resilience of systems may be more constrained by the inherent dependence through consumer-resource interactions across trophic levels. During the last 15 years, an extensive monitoring program has been conducted in the North Eastern Greenland National Park, the Zackenberg Basic. The objective of the program is to provide long time series of data on the natural innate oscillations and plasticity of a High Arctic ecosystem. With offset in the data provided through Zackenberg Basic, a newly initiated project is focusing on how the changes and variability in the physical environment affects the species phenology and composition, population dynamics and how species specific responses at different trophic levels are carried on to the inter-trophic dynamics of consumers and resources. This poster will present the conceptual framework for this project focusing on species resilience.