With the help of a team of ecologists, a research team at UC Davis is making the case that a simple model of ecological niches can predict how people and ecosystems will respond to climate change.
The researchers found that people are much more likely to live in ecosystems with large numbers of trees if there is a clear environmental niche to support their existence.
They found that forests with small numbers of small trees and shrubs have a much higher likelihood of surviving.
The researchers also found that the more diverse the environment is, the lower the likelihood of a large tree die-off or extinction.
The research was published in the April 22 edition of the journal Ecology Letters.
“These findings show that the ecological niche can be an effective tool for assessing the effects of climate change on ecosystems,” said lead author Sarah Hirsch, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
“We need to understand how the ecological system responds to changes in climate and to how that responds to change in human behavior.”
The model the researchers developed is called the Ecological Networking Model (ENSM), and it’s based on the concept of ecological niche theory, which is a concept based on how the world is structured and the way we perceive the world around us.
In the model, an ecosystem has a number of ecological and physical features, and the overall size of each of these can be determined using the shape of a tree, the amount of water in its soil, the density of vegetation, and even the distance between two nodes.
The ENSM model uses these characteristics to predict the likelihood that an ecosystem will respond differently to changes such as changing temperatures and precipitation.
In other words, it’s a way to estimate the degree to which an ecosystem is changing over time.
“In order to understand the future of the climate, we need to have a better understanding of how ecosystems respond to changes that are occurring in their environment,” Hirsch said.
“That’s where the ENSM comes in.”
The ENSSM has been used in the past to understand why some ecosystems may be more resilient than others to changes and to predict changes in the climate.
For example, it was used to predict that drought and other types of extreme weather could increase in severity in the coming decades.
“By understanding the environmental niches of a species, we can use that knowledge to predict how it will respond in the future,” Hays said.
The team of researchers used this model to examine how the human response to climate changes might change under the most extreme conditions.
They were interested in the effects this might have on the survival of plants, animals, and humans.
“This study provides us with a new way to assess the ecological systems that support life on Earth and how they are responding to climate,” Hoes said.
“The results are pretty exciting, especially because we’ve already been using this concept in the lab to predict drought, floods, and wildfires, and we’ve seen that the effects are pretty dramatic.
But how would they look under extreme conditions?””
We have an opportunity to test how this concept might apply to more extreme events,” Hinshaw said.
To test the ENSS model, the researchers created two separate scenarios.
One scenario had a global average temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius.
The other had a 2.6 degree temperature increase.
The first scenario was modeled using the ENSTM model, and in this case, the model predicted that the rate of species extinction would increase by 2.2 percent.
The second scenario was a more realistic model using the COVID-19 climate model.
The results showed that under the scenario with 2.0 degrees Celsius increase in average temperature, the chances of species survival increased by about 50 percent.
However, under the 2.4 degree Celsius increase, the survival rate of plants increased by only 25 percent.
This means that the increase in temperature could lead to a 50 percent increase in the survival rates of plants and animals, but only a 30 percent increase for humans.
The scientists did find that the survival probability of a forest under a 2 degrees climate change increase decreased by 20 percent under the more realistic 2.1 degree change.
This suggests that under this scenario, the loss of species under the climate change is a function of how quickly the forest responds to the warming.
Hays said that the results show that there is an overall benefit to an ecosystem under the increased warming.
“The results also show that if you look at the effects over time, the rate at which ecosystems adapt is significantly greater in the warming environment,” he said.
In addition, the results indicate that species survival under the COV-19 scenario is lower than under the 1.5 degree climate change scenario.
In both scenarios, the likelihoods of species recovery were much higher under the warmer climate.
Hirsch and Hinswaw plan to continue working on this model in order to predict future changes in ecosystems, and to develop better ways to predict climate change effects.
The work was supported