Assessing the effects of past and future climate change on Amazonian biodiversity (CLAMBIO)

Background and aims

Climate change affects life at all levels, from genetic structure of animal and plant populations to socio-economic organization of human communities, especially the indigenous peoples who depend on the forests for their livelihoods. Amazonia seems to be facing warmer and drier climates, which could make large areas unsuitable for species adapted to moist rainforest conditions and increase the susceptibility of vegetation to wildfires, thereby promoting savannization. This, in turn, would reduce biodiversity, biomass, carbon storage and productivity of the forests, as well as further reduce local rainfall and affect river water levels through impacts on water circulation. We will integrate data from geological sediment cores, species distributions, genomics and community phylogenetics with climate models and environmental data to reconstruct the recent demographic history of populations in selected plant and animal groups, to infer how past climate changes have impacted habitat stability, dispersal and local extinctions and to model how the distributions of suitable habitats may change in the future. The studies will be made in close collaboration with indigenous peoples and their organisations to clarify how their lives may be impacted and to search for mitigation strategies.


University of Turku (Finland, coordinator), PI Hanna Tuomisto

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), PI Florian Wittmann

National Institute of Amazonian Research (Brazil),PI Camila Ribas

University of São Paulo (Brazil), PI Cristiano Mazur Chiessi

University of East Anglia (UK), PI Carlos Peres

The project is funded through the Biodiversa 2019-2020 call of proposals and will take place from April 2021 through March 2024.