Climate change impacts on species interactions: Assessing the threat of cascading extinctions

Lesley Hughes*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Complex networks of interacting species play important roles in the maintenance of biodiversity, the stability of food webs, and the ecosystem services that communities provide. Predicting the myriad of impacts that climate change will have on ecological interactions is a complex task. Species will respond individualistically to climatic and atmospheric changes. The geographic ranges and/or temporal coincidence of species that currently interact may therefore progressively move apart, while species that do not presently co-occur may do so in the future. Novel species combinations will result, and many present-day relationships between species may become increasingly decoupled. Changes in species interactions have enormous potential to alter community structure and composition, and these impacts may be even greater than the direct effects of a changed climate.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSaving a Million Species
    Subtitle of host publicationExtinction Risk from Climate Change
    EditorsLee Hannah
    Place of PublicationWashington, D.C.
    PublisherIsland Press-Center for Resource Economics
    Number of pages23
    ISBN (Electronic)9781610911825, 1610911822
    ISBN (Print)1597265691, 9781597265690
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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