Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group

EECRG in Nature

Eleven past and present members of EECRG are co-authors on the paper "Accelerated increase in plant species richness on mountain summits is linked to warming" published in the 12 April issue of Nature

Front cover of Nature journal with a photo of Androsace alpina on a mountain summit
Manuel Steinbauer

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The EECRG-affiliated authors are John-Arvid Grytnes, Aino Kulonen, Patryk Czortek, Vivian Felde, Kjetil Fossheim, Siri Haugum, Francesca Jaroszynska, Jutta Kapfer, Kari Klanderud, Arvid Odland, and Siri Olsen. There are 53 authors altogether from 11 countries.

This international paper is a meta-analysis of data from repeated plant surveys of 302 mountain summits across Europe - Alps, Pyrenees, Carpathians, Scotland, Scandinavia, Svalbard - covering 145 years of observations. The analysis shows a striking continent-wide acceleration in the rate of increase in species richness with a five times greaer increase between 2007 and 2016 compared to fifty years earlier between 1957 and 1966. This acceleration strongly matches accelerated global warming but not other drivers of global change.

Sonia Wipf (Davos, Switzerland) estimates that the collection of the 302 data points in the last ten years involved 26,950 km of walking and 617,129 m of climbing! On Sonia's blog there is also a link to a very appropriate poem by Sam Illingworth inspired by this Nature paper.

The cover of 12 April issue of Nature highlights the paper with a striking photograph of Androsace alpina in the Alps.

Congratulations to all involved, particularly John-Arvid and his EECRG team!