Classic species distribution models predict and explore community structures from the individual species level - often falling prey to Simpson's paradox. With PBGJAM, we seek to model whole community responses to climate change to more accurately predict the impact of both the individual species and the ecosystem as a whole.
The impact of climate change on biological communities will depend on interactions involving the local habitat and the species that interact with one another—as each species responds directly to climate it indirectly affects all of the species with which it interacts. These species interactions complicate efforts to predict climate effects, because each species experiences habitat complexity at a different scale—from flightless insects to large vertebrates. Current efforts focus on the effects of climate change, land cover, and soils, but do not benefit from estimates of food availability. This study will determine how diverse communities of species monitored in NEON (ground beetles, vascular plants, small mammals, birds) respond together with food supply, in the form of masting shrubs and trees, and large mammal surveys. A focus on the mast system of pulsed seed and fruit production from trees, includes vertebrate consumers, and indirect interactions with arthropod competitors and vertebrate predators. Remotely-sensed imagery and the NEON airborne observatory will be used to characterize habitat diversity.
Results of this analysis will be used to evaluate community change and reorganization, including prediction and attribution of climate risk by species and habitat and how it is shared across species groups. New data on large mammals and seed production from NEON sites will be made available to the community. The study will engage the public through citizen assisted identification of animal images.