Understanding Biotic Responses to Global Change
It is common to hear that the world is changing at an unprecedented rate and scale, but what exactly does this mean, and how are biota responding to these changes? This class will serve as an overview of general biotic responses to large-scale human-induced changes to the environment. While this is an incredibly expansive topic, we will explore the major axes of adaptation (shifts in phenology, range, and morphology) through the lens of long-term datasets that have provided the critical data underlying what we know about global change. We will explore what is known and what remains uncertain about how biota will respond to global change, as well as the impacts of that change on natural systems and humanity. We will also explore how we know what we know, with an introduction to the power of traditional ecological knowledge. Finally, we will explore some of the impacts of biotic change on important cultural connections to the natural world, from shifting baselines to the extinction of culturally-significant taxa.