Impact of climate change on a sub-Antarctic keystone cushion plant, Azorella macquariensis (Apiaceae)
thesisposted on 2020-02-28, 05:44 authored by CATHERINE RUTH DICKSON
Over the last decade there has been widespread dieback in the keystone plant species on Australia's sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island in response to climate change. This research identified multiple microclimate factors driving dieback, and promoting plant disease. Natural southern refugia for the species were identified where conditions remain more naturally cold. Under current climate projections, low plant recovery and feedbacks between parts of the ecosystem suggest that the situation will continue to worsen and ultimately result in localised ecosystem collapse. To maintain ecosystem function, a range of bolder, time-critical recovery actions are recommended, integrating research with adaptive management options.