Climate change is projected to be one of the top threats to biodiversity in coming decades. Species with small geographic ranges, often called “endemics”, may be at especially high risk of extinction because unsuitable climatic conditions could develop rapidly across the entirety of their ranges. If such species are unable to disperse long distances on their own to follow suitable climatic conditions, it has been proposed that human-assisted colonization or “managed relocation” might be an option of last resort to avoid extinctions. With this approach, climate-threatened species would be intentionally translocated to new regions as conditions deteriorated within their native ranges. Jesse Bellemare will speak about his research to better understand how the distribution and diversity of these rare species is related to past climate change, such as the Ice Ages, and to predict how the species might respond to the threat of modern anthropogenic climate change. Will managed relocation of species be a viable solution to prevent rare species extinction?
BIO: Jesse Bellemare, PhD
Jesse Bellemare is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Smith College. His research focuses on questions in plant ecology, biogeography and evolution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. In particular, he is interested in how historical processes or effects may influence the contemporary distribution of plant species and the present-day structure of plant communities.