Kenneth James Feeley, PhD
Smathers Chair of Tropical Tree Biology
Department of Biology, University of Miami
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Topic: Climate-Driven Changes in the Composition of Tropical Forests
Tropical forests house the vast majority of plant species. Unfortunately, very little is known about most of these species and specifically about how they are being affected by climate change. In his presentation, Dr. Kenneth Feeley describes a suite of studies documenting changes in the composition of tree species in forests throughout the tropical Andes (and beyond) and how these changes are being driven by upslope shifts in species' ranges due to rising temperatures. Dr. Feeley also discusses how ecotone barriers, for example at the timberline and cloud base, may be preventing some species from migrating upslope and thereby hastening extinctions and species loss in these vital ecosystems.