EGU23-9757, updated on 22 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Roles of diversity and adaptation in the eco-evolutionary responses of biodiverse plant communities to climate change

Jaideep Joshi1,2,3, Florian Hofhansl4, Shipra Singh3,5, Benjamin Stocker1,2, Åke Brännström3,6,7, Toyo Vignal7, Carolina Casagrande Blanco8, Izabela Aleixo9, David Lapola8, Iain Colin Prentice10,11,12, and Ulf Dieckmann3,7,13
Jaideep Joshi et al.
  • 1Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, 3012 Bern, Switzerland (
  • 2Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Falkenplatz 16, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Advancing Systems Analysis Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, 2361 Laxenburg, Austria
  • 4Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, 2361 Laxenburg, Austria
  • 5School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-110067, India
  • 6Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
  • 7Complexity Science and Evolution Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan
  • 8University of Campinas, Campinas - SP, 13083-970, Brazil
  • 9National Institute of Amazonian Research, Manaus - AM, 69067-375, Brazil
  • 10Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK
  • 11Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
  • 12Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 13Department of Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Hayama, Kanagawa 240-0193, Japan

Climate change is projected to cause not only higher mean temperatures but also higher climate variability. Although elevated CO2 concentrations can potentially increase the productivity of some ecosystems, higher temperatures and more frequent droughts may lead to increased respiration and mortality, possibly negating these productivity gains. The capacity of global forests to adjust to climate change depends on their functional diversity and the ecosystem’s adaptive capacity.

The Plant-FATE eco-evolutionary model describes vegetation responses to altered environmental conditions, including CO2 concentrations, temperatures, and droughts. It represents functional diversity by modelling species as points in trait space and incorporates ecosystem adaptations at three levels: 1) to model acclimation of plastic traits of individual plants, we leverage the power of eco-evolutionary optimality principles, 2) to model shifts in species composition via demographic changes and species immigration, we implement a trait-size-structured demographic vegetation model, and 3) to model the long-term genetic evolution of species, we have developed new evolutionary theory for trait-size-structured communities.

First, we show that with just a few calibrated parameters, the Plant-FATE model accurately predicts the fluxes of CO2 and water, size distributions, and trait distributions for a tropical wet site in the Amazon Forest. Second, we show that under elevated CO2 conditions and in the absence of nutrient limitation, our model predictions are broadly consistent with observations, namely: an increase in leaf area, productivity and biomass, and a decrease in stomatal conductance and photosynthetic capacity. Third, we simulate the calibrated model with hypothetical future drought regimes to investigate three key features of ecosystem responses: 1) the change in species composition and ecosystem functioning in response to altered conditions, 2) the timescales of ecosystem response to new regimes, 3) the influence of functional diversity on the timescale of ecosystem adaptation and its consequences for ecosystem collapse.

Our eco-evolutionary vegetation modelling strategy presents a powerful approach to leverage the power of natural selection to simulate ecosystem dynamics under novel conditions that plants may have never experienced before.

How to cite: Joshi, J., Hofhansl, F., Singh, S., Stocker, B., Brännström, Å., Vignal, T., Casagrande Blanco, C., Aleixo, I., Lapola, D., Colin Prentice, I., and Dieckmann, U.: Roles of diversity and adaptation in the eco-evolutionary responses of biodiverse plant communities to climate change, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-9757,, 2023.