Claudia Gstöttl

Claudia Gstöttl


Arealmodellierungen ausgewählter alpiner Pflanzenarten im Globalen Wandel.

Throughout the last 20 years, interest in climate change increased; in both scientific discourse and in the public realm. Detecting early stage changes in climate-induced vegetation composition is ideal in high mountainous regions. Alpine plant species, for example, are found to be sensitive indicators for the ecological consequences of current global warming models. Simple climate models, however,fail to show the complex interactions within an ecosystem. To show the variety of the factors that influence current and future distribution limits of 11 selected alpine plants, different model calculations were used, and juxtaposed in this paper (Maximum-Entropie vs. GLM). Models that rely on only few parameters, e.g. temperature details, prove to be sufficient in illustrating only general trends on a larger scale. However, for a more detailed prognosis of small-scale areas, e.g. for Leontopodium alpinum, the consideration of other factors, such as topography, geology and interspecific interactions, are vital. GLMs were used to generate more comprehensive explanatory models. Different model approaches in this study produced varying results in illustrating the distribution of the species. Furthermore, it appears that climate models with computer-generated data at a local level reached their limits and produced partially implausible results on this scale. Hence, solid distribution models can only be created for purely climate-sensitive species, like Androsace alpina. In addition to the scientific findings, the information transfer to the public is an important aspect in this study. To this end, current states of knowledge and assessment on climate change in the Alps have been determined by surveying visitors of the National Park. By choosing plants that are well known, but also have different ecophysiological characteristics, the research results will facilitate the presentation of the content, but at the same time illustrate the complexity of the ecosystem of the Alps. In fact, the public perception is in line with the general warming trend and its effects in terms of a thermophilization. However, this consistency fades at a higher resolution of the study area and in consideration of specific species. A climate model for Ranunculus glacialis, not considering the mandatory acidic geology, did not provide the explanatory value that was expected by the visitors of the NP. Particularly, simple climate modeling does not detect the variety of ecological parameters and their interrelations which are little known among respondents, but show partially highly significant values in the GLM. It is planned to share the results of this study in cooperation with the NP Hohe Tauern/Tyrol Austria in the form of brochures and posters with visitors of the NP and the population of the region.

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