Climate change in tropical mountains
Khan, Shafkatul Islam
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This dissertation research aims to examine the role of abiotic and biotic factors in tropical mountains that affect plant species distributions with climate change. My research focuses on the effects biotic and abiotic factors at the lower elevation-warmer climate boundary of high elevation tropical species. I also examined the response of localized populations of species spanning a broad elevation-climate gradient to warmer climates. Using field transplant experiments and shadehouse studies, I examined the tolerance of montane tropical species to novel climatic factors such as temperature and moisture, and a novel soil microbial community. The results from the field experiment suggest that tropical montane high elevation trees cannot persist in a much warmer climate and local populations species with a broad distribution performs equally well across climate. Subsequent mesocosm studies suggest that tropical high elevation plant species may tolerate novel individual factors such as soil temperature, moisture, or non-native soil community. Further research is imperative to understand the mechanisms behind the reduced performance of high-elevation tropical species in a warmer climate and how species in high-elevation tropical forests will respond to climate change.