Diversity changes along elevation gradients in the Central and Southern Alps, Italy

a lot of interesting

talks i'm brigitte ash palmer from the


of botany university of innsbruck

and if

if we look at the news

of today of these days

you will recognize that the topic the

important topic of climate change

shifted to the back

ground due to the coronavirus

so fortunately we

can discuss the topic climate change

today at this meeting

i'm happy to announce

four talks dealing with

diversity along elevation gradients

and the first talk will be given by

elena niklas

she will talk about diversity changes

along elevation gradients in the central

and in the southern alps

i ask all speakers to

stay on time and to watch at

the signs please please elena

hello everybody thank you brigitte for


nice introduction i will stay now the


talks day in english i hope this is okay

yeah it's a pleasure for me also to be


again after two years and give you

more new informations

and results on the two gloria

sites the global

observation research in initiative in


in alphine regions where brigitte

and her working group has two

sites in in south tyrol

and yes let's start

this gloria project does

more standardized monitoring of

vegetation changes due to climate change

so we all know climate change

change is happening and temperatures are


quite dramatically i have here from our


sites in the central and in the southern


temperature from downscaled

satellite data where we see really this


increase of 0.5 degrees celsius

per decade and especially in

the alpine living zone

so everything above the tree line

temperature has an a very

important effect has a strong effect as

the living there is limited by cold

temperatures and as it is

warming species can move upwards

we have a species increase at yeah

because beaches are

moving upwards and a terminal


at summits and yeah the gloria project

is a worldwide

project where summits in all

important summit or mountain regions

are are monitored

over the last 15 years and last time i


showed you this graph we are observing

in species

increase but if we

look a little bit more into detail we


different speed and magnitude of these

species increases so in the central alps

we have a little bit less

species increases than in the southern

alps there is more happening

and we have hot spots of changes

especially this

highest mountain in the southern area

where we had

um 65 uh four

percent more species um and

also this in in the in in this

area of the alpine um in ecuador to

alpine to

sapnival there is there are high


but we also have um cold spots

of change like um the the lower summits

and also in in the central of the the


summit and

here we ask the question which

factors are maybe shaping this and

we have hypothesized that the answer may


in in the transects below and that they


give us an answer to it

we can also see these different changes

in the turnover

of species where we have so

new species quite and lost species quite


species in the southern alps in

comparison to the

central alps and also here this third

highest summit has a quite high

number of new species so what

did we do in in addition to these

summits which are monitored

over 15 years is we also looked at

the transects below these summits

and especially were interested in the

species pools which species

are at the southern slope so

they also there is a study

that the the highest

the rich sides of the mountains are the

southern and the eastern sides

as there it's it's warmer and also

more turnover is um all the new species


at the southern sides and that's that's

why we also concentrated

um at the southern sides and um looked

yeah if there are which new species

could be found

um along these transects um yeah so

the first main interest in

in this was to determine and compare the

species pools between slopes

um and to yeah to death the mine

them at the slopes and compare them to

the summits and we hypothesized that

these pools must be bigger in the

southern alps because there is

more going on and more species on there

and that these cold spots of changes

might be there where the slopes where

there are not so

many more species on the slopes and

these species pools are very similar

with the summit

we were also interested if along these


there are special microsites available


can improve for example this

moving up and want to look at

or determine potential migrators of the


and also look at the distribution of the


which are increasing at the summits for

example which are the winners and the

losers and

if there is a connection between the the

distribution in the transactive they are


um frequently there already so um

today i can only show you about this

maybe in two years

time i can tell you more

um so i already said

we are talking about these two gloria

sites in south tyrol that's why i'm here

today we are from the university of

innsbruck and very happy

to work in this beautiful landscape

and one is in the central alps and one

in the

southern alps so the central alps is

a siliceous bedrock and the southern


in the dolomites so

this gloria setting

also always has summits along an

elevational gradient and

here we see these

summits along the gradient which were


starting in 2003. they also

were monitored in 2011 and 2017

and the transects we did in 2018

and in the southern arabs it already

started 2001

and last year we we could do

the transects and as you can see

in in the southern arabs we only had

three transects so at every summit we

tried to

go from the summit down to the tree line


get the the alpine species pool

but this lowest summit at the southern

alps is already quite

low and you can't see it but behind

this summit there are the first trees

already so we could not go farther down

and yeah this is already the species

pool of

of this tree line actually

yes so for those who are not so familiar

to the gloria

monitoring i want to introduce you into


multi-summit approach so at every summit

in one region we have this same

protocol we look at species

occurrences in the upper 10 meter

of a summit the summits are always

away from tourism and

avoid of grazing

and then we have smaller plots in

three reaper three meter quadrats um

in which are always one square meter um

at the five meter contour line um but

also around in at each

aspect we we look at these

summit area sections the lower and the


five meters yes and we look at all

species occurring

and in the square meters we

estimate the cover and also the cover of

these micro sites like vegetation cover

litter cover

and so on and now at the transects we

tried to stay a little bit with this

setting and had every 50

meter had this again three

meter three per three meter

quadrat with at every um

edge square meter a one square meter

special plot where we

estimated again cover and the currencies

of species and

these microsites but also to get


like this summit area sections to also

find which species are around and not


occurring in this one square meter we


looked at the 9.9 meter

surrounding and this we did along a


um 50 meter long so here

the first um results

i haven't had too much time um to go


but or to to do a lot of statistics

actually no statistics but um we can

have a look on quite interesting um

get idea of these pools um we always

have the

the summits with the the lower summits


going up here about

the whole species pool of the

region in the southbound alps is bigger

we can see then um in the central alps

then it's also quite interesting when we


the species pool or this yeah the speed

this species pool size is

it need not to be that these are really

all the same speeches

um is at the summits extra

extremely high when we um take into

account everything so

um at these summits with the different

um aspects there's

really in the these upper 10 meters we


really find a lot a high diversity

and interesting is

are these differences how much

more species are in in the transect to


and when you can remember that we did

not find so much

changes on on this lower um mountain


actually because there are not so many

more species

below and for these hot

spots of changes we can see that

in the transect there is really a big

species pool

then not so many species are at the

summit okay

um just a very short um

overview on the data these these


plot sizes with their summit

with their species numbers we have in

in the upper part always the summit and

these are the species numbers again the

sum it's up

and can see how the left size is

side is always the square meter plots of

course there

is not so much space for for species

um and again the summits

sometimes have quite high species

numbers um

and also if we look at this

summit for example where we find

quite many changes

we see also in the transect that there

are many

more species around which can still

arrive so we can

expect many changes there in in future

then if we look at the vegetation cover

is also quite interesting

along the summits in in comparison to

the transact

we see kind of a calcareous versus


effect that at the summits in the


alps we again here have the zombies

the vegetation cover is lower than

in the transects

below which makes sense if if we

think of of a calcareous

situation landscape and in

in the central alps it's really more


as a slowly decrease

in yes okay

um this is about the

vegetation cover um and

i thought that normally i'm talking a

lot so

i did not put so many results but

i would have time okay

but let's have a summary here i think


you got the impression what we are what

our aims are

and it's really still some

um work to do and yeah so for speeches


and our hypotheses what can we say now

um i think you all saw that that the

southern arabs

had a bigger species pool and um that

there are already signs which i showed


that um this species pool is quite

important it may be difficult to really

get this this fact these

these factors as as

variables and and in statistics we'll


yeah also with this microsite


we already saw a difference between

calcareous and delicious situations


the potential migrator question and

distribution of species

i have to leave open by now

but i'm very happy that we have more

information on the topic of

planned communities along these

transects there we go more into the

direction which species are

really up there and not only these

species numbers

and i'm happy to give over

to my master student niels who will

tell you then about the planned

communities in

in the southern alps yes with this i

would like to

thank you for your attention and all the

helpers also

eric strengthwalder who was the master

student helping me

with the textile groups or the central

alps and all for the funding

and you for listening and i'm happy to

take some questions

thank you very much lena we can have the


in english in german or in italian

so please have you got questions yeah

yes thanks for this nice presentation my

name is francis katzenma

so you spoke about an increase of

species over the gradients

now i was wondering whether you have

noticed also the disappearance

of species who are cold adapted

by now not so much so

also worldwide we are in in or

european right actually we are more in

the face of

species increase but

in for example yeah and at the

the lowest yeah maybe we can go back

the the

strongest decrease

in our two


so here in in our two regions was really

at this this lowest

summit where you can see this this very

long or a high number of lost species

which was very high

but is not um concerning now these

very cold adapted species so we are very

at the low size and it's it's more the

overgrowing of

grasses and and trees so

what i can say for this these two

spots but also at the transcover for

example they have

a very big gloria master site

and there they observed a

dramatic decrease actually of these very

cold adapted species

renuncles for example and also that

only during the last 10 years

these disappearances

started now and not in in the first

10 years um there were mostly only new

species and

now it's also starting this

these lost species but however at the

moment it's

not um such a big issue at

our two sides but

we are looking at it

of course and that's why it's important

to do this monitoring for

for a long time and yeah see this

okay is there another question

distance of yeah 8 meters could result


a mean annual temperature differences of

50 degrees

so i would like to ask in the selection

of the sampling plots

which are the criteria because small

difference in micro uh

really efforts etc could heavily

impose on on speech diversity and also

on the vegetation cover

what were the area collecting of these

three to three meter

um yes of course um so

is it it's the standard um protocol and

and you

um have this diversity and um a very

important fact uh thor or design point

was that

um it was at all at every aspect

you have um one three per three meter

plot and it's more that you

can find it again so it was really at


at this aspect at the five meters

and it was not so much chosen

to to get a very um

homogeneous plot or something like this

up but

of course if you always stay at the same

plot you you might see more

changes than um what is really happening


what when it's really uh extinction

threat for

species on on the summit because it may


it's a good thing that it can go around

from a warmest

aspect to a colder aspect of course

yeah yeah

okay no more questions but

there is the possibility afterwards to


a short discussion at the end of these


now i would like to invite nils bertolt

from the department of botany innsbruck


he will talk about plant communities

along elevational

and temporal gradients of at

the gloria sites in the dolomites