Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA)

Emblematic alpine plants: Towards a better understanding of their fundamental climatic requirements

Working with her supervisor, Dr. Olivier Broennimann and director, Professor Antoine Guisan, Daniela Cárdenas, MSc student at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), is researching alpine plants to better understand the climatic conditions they require and wants to contact botanical gardens and arboretums around the world to get further information.

Background (by D. Cárdenas)

Due to habitat destruction and rapid climatic change, it is crucial to launch initiatives to guarantee the maintenance of species in the long-term. A valuable perspective in this regard is to develop our knowledge of plants’ ecological requirements and use this information to improve management tools for their conservation. Along with this line, tools allowing predictions of future species distribution (i.e. species distribution models, SDMs) are essential to anticipate conservation efforts.

Botanical gardens and arboreta represent a significant source of knowledge for plant conservation efforts from all around the world. These collections of living specimens can be considered as ex-situ laboratories for plants and are a unique source of knowledge about species. They provide the possibility to assess the suitable conditions that species require for existence. More particularly, this information should allow the quantification of the fundamental climatic requirements of species removing the effect of competition from other species, which would otherwise blur the responses we observe in the field. We expect this information to considerably improve the modelling and prediction of species distributions.

In this research project, the focus is on alpine plants, which represent an excellent model to investigate the fundamental niche due to their adaptations to harsh conditions at high altitudes. Furthermore, we selected “emblematic alpine plants” that are also more appealing and thus more likely to be present in botanical gardens.

Link and deadline

If you are interested in collaborating with them and in contributing some information from your garden/arboretum, please fill out their survey before May 2017!