Climate change

Climate Change: Biological Consequences of Global Change with a focus on the Three Pole initiative (of China) with iCCB, WCRP, WMO

1st August, 09:00-12:30 (open to all)

Chair: Zhibin Zhang (Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)


Climate change is imposing great threat to our ecosystems. The symposium will focus on the global impacts of climate change on animals or related disease in the world, including the three-pole regions. Dr. Le Kang will give a presentation on the effects of global warming on grasshoppers in the grassland of the Inner Mongolia plateau in China. Dr. Jenny McGuire will talk about the influence of climate change on terrestrial range shifts of animals. Dr. Boram Lee will speak about the contribution of WMO, WCRP and UN CC to TROP ICSU. Dr. A. Michelle Lawing will introduce a framework that integrates evolutionary information, and another framework for measuring ecosystem level changes. Dr. Yongqin Liu will present findings on the impact of glacier melting on bacterial community composition and diversity in the Tibetan Plateau. Dr. Yvon Le Maho will present the findings of him and his team on how climate change influences the distribution of penguin populations in the Antarctic. After these presentations, participants of this symposium will discuss the future collaborations in studying the impacts of climate change on ecosystems in the three poles.

Speakers and title

1. Le Kang (Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China):

Responses of Grasshoppers in Mongolian grasslands to warming

2. Jenny McGuire (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA):

Terrestrial range shifts are amplified by climate change but hindered by human land use and fragmentation: a paleoecological perspective

3. Boram Lee (World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), Geneva, Switzerland):

Value addition to TROP ICSU from WMO, WCRP, UN CC: Learn

Coffee break (10 minutes)

4. A. Michelle Lawing (Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

Modeling species and community response to past climate change

5. Tandong Yao, Yongqin Liu (Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS, China):

Microbes in Glacier on the Tibetan Plateau: Past Present Future

6. Yvon Le Maho (Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique & Université de Strasbourg, France and Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Principauté de Monaco):

The impact of climate change on penguins

Abstracts and information of the speakers

"Responses of Grasshoppers in Mongolian grasslands to warming"

Le Kang

Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China


As primary consumers, grasshoppers are an important component of grassland ecosystems and their responses to climate change can have significant implications to alteration in the structure and function of grasslands. In Mongolian grasslands, almost grasshopper species have one generation per year. Infrared heaters were used for warming the air environment by 1-2 ºC above the ambient condition in a typical grassland community. We conducted a field manipulation experiment to investigate developmental and demographic responses to symmetric and asymmetric warming in three contrasting grasshopper species,an early-season species, a mid-season species, and a late-season species in Inner Mongolian grasslands. In a diel symmetric warming, we found that both the mid-season species and the late-season species showed greater response to warming in advancement of hatching and development than the early-season species, suggesting diapause of grasshoppers buffers warming effects. In a diel asymmetric warming, we found that both daytime and nighttime warming advanced the development of the grasshoppers. The hatching time was advanced more in the mid- and late-season species than in the early-season species; the nighttime warming exhibited greater effects on egg development than the daytime warming in the late-season species; whilst the nymph development responded more to daytime warming. On the other hand, we conducted a warming garden experiment to explore the responses of egg development from 8 geographic populations of a grasshopper species along latitudinal gradients. The egg development of the high latitudinal populations was more sensitive to warming than those from the lower latitude grasshoppers. The increase of effective accumulative degree-day (EADD) of low latitudinal populations, not the lower developmental threshold temperatures (LDT) of high latitudinal populations, drove the grasshopper eggs performing such adaption pattern. The grasshopper eggs could buffer the influence of global climate warming by increasing EADD or delay developmental rate over long term adaptation to sufficiently use the environmental thermal conditions. The research data implies that the long term effects of global warming on ecototherms is not only reduction of body size, shifting in distribution, and advanced of biological phenology, but also ecototherms could have ability to maintain the stability of life history strategy in response to environmental changes.

Personal information:

Dr. Le Kang, as an internationally recognized scientist in ecological genomics of insects, is a distinguished professor of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is also president of Beijing Institutes of Life Science, CAS, president of Hebei University, as well as the dean of Department of Life Sciences of University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He successfully resolves the ecological questions of insect adaptation to environmental variation with the model of the migratory locust, a worldwide notorious pest species, by integrating multiple approaches from molecular biology, physiology to genomics. He makes an outstanding accomplishment in disclosing the molecular regulatory mechanisms and epigenetic modulation of locust phase changes, which are very typically phenotypical plasticity in insects. Dr. Kang was elected to be member of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2011, member of the Developing World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in 2012, and academician of International Eurasian of Sciences (IEAS). He received several important awards including the prestigious Life Science & Biotechnology Prize, Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation (Hongkong) in 2011, the International Distinguished Scientist Award of the Entomological Society of USA in 2013, and Tan’s Achievement Award for Life Sciences and fellow of Entomological Society of America in 2015. In 2017, he is awarded with the National Prize (Second class) of Natural Sciences and Scientific Achievement Prize of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"Value addition to TROP ICSU from WMO, WCRP, UN CC: Learn"

Boram Lee1, L S Shashidhara2,3, Nathalie Fomproix3

1World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), Geneva, Switzerland, 2IISER Pune and Ashoka University, India, 3International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), Paris, France

Present’s Email:


Training, capacity building, higher education, and facilitated collaboration are of paramount importance for a sustainable future for society. In the climate context, open engagement of civil society, academia, public and private sectors – across regions and in United Nations processes, programmes and activities – is central to sustain and grow the breadth of the community at present and in the future.

The project partners of TROP ICSU (“Trans-disciplinary Research Oriented Pedagogy for Improving Climate Studies and Understanding”) include national and international academies, research centres, United Nations agencies and associated global programmes; such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Science Council (ISC), World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC: Learn). These partners work closely toward their common goals of sustainable development and resilient society that are capable of taking effective climate change action. For example, the Paris agreement calls all Parties to cooperate to enhance climate change education, training, and publication awareness.

The partnership, catalyzed by the TROP ICSU project, has successfully demonstrated not only the essential integration of climate subjects with the core curricula, but also bridging climate science and society. These institutional, scientific, and technical collaboration provides high quality, scientifically accurate educational resources for teachers in various disciplines. The TROP ICSU teaching resources are carefully reviewed by the experts of relevant areas identified through the WCRP and relevant scientific programmes, and in return, offer a powerful communication tool for climate science to be effectively integrated into the wide academic and societal areas. The UN CC:Learn benefits from the TROP ICSU by acquiring locally rooted but globally relevant context for their science, and offer the globally established dissemination and application framework to enrich the project implementation.

Such partnerships furthermore empower current and future citizens across the globe in improving their understanding of the science of climate change and in developing necessary skills for climate adaptation, climate mitigation, and climate resilience. It is the key contribution to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly 4 (Quality Education) and 13 (Climate Action). It is essential that the TROP ICSU partners and users continue to cultivate paths to ensure long-term coordination for synergetic development and utilization of resources, to ensure rigorous review and evaluation of quality, and to tighten the full value chain of science-information-application-decision.

Personal information

Boram Lee is Senior Scientific Officer of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Her responsibilities include leading the planning and coordination of the WCRP core projects on the Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC) and the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX), in close coordination with the respective International Project Offices. She is also in charge of supporting the coordination of WCRP's regional activities through its Coordination Office for Regional Activities (CORA) and with relevant national, regional and international research communities. Boram's responsibility extends to the development of WCRP initiatives on urban climate, and supporting/enhancing partnerships with early career scientists.

Before joining WCRP in 2014, Boram worked for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), responsible for international coordination of marine meteorological affairs including coastal risk forecasting and warning, through the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM). Boram worked at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO from 2003 to 2011 as a Programme Specialist, at the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences of Japan in 2002 as visiting scientist, and at the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) from 1995 to 2001 as research scientist. Since 2010, Boram serves as adjunct professor in the College of Ocean Science, Jeju National University, Republic of Korea.

Boram Lee holds PhD in climatology from the Université Paris VI, France, Masters and Bachelors degrees in atmospheric science from the Seoul National University in Korea.

"Modeling species and community response to past climate change"

A. Michelle Lawing1

1Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

Presenter’s Email:


Fundamental understanding of how species and communities respond to climate change and environmental gradients should be supported by our knowledge of how species and communities responded to past climate change, especially because modern responses are exacerbated by anthropogenic pressures including human population growth, habitat destruction and fragmentation, and intensifying land use. I will present a framework that integrates evolutionary information in the form of phylogenetic relatedness from clades of extant closely related species, where and when there are associated fossil occurrences, and the geographic distribution of paleoclimate in deep time to infer species past geographic response to climate change and to estimate where and when there were hotspots of ancient diversification. This framework is supported by deep time projections of physiological models of climate tolerance. In the second part of my talk, I will discuss trait-based approaches and elaborate on an ecometrics framework for measuring ecosystem level changes in community trait distributions through time. This framework can be used to estimate climate or environment from assemblages of fossils or to forward project trait space changes based on future climate scenarios.

Personal information

Dr. Michelle Lawing received a dual major Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior and in Geological Sciences from Indiana University in 2012. Dr. Lawing joined the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor in 2014. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in spatial ecology, evolution, and GIS. Her research focuses on addressing the grand challenge of predicting biotic response to environmental change. She received research funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the International Union of Biological Sciences. Dr. Lawing is involved in international research networks in North America, Europe, and Africa.

"The impact of climate change on penguins"

Yvon LE MAHO1,2,

1Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique & Université of Strasbourg, France. 2Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Principauté de Monaco.

Present’s Email:


Climate has determined the distribution penguins in Antarctica for millions of years. As glaciers expanded and covered their breeding habitats, Adélie penguins abandoned their rocky breeding grounds. They were able to return there when the glaciers melted during warming periods. Based on the genomics of king penguins and isotope measurements of ice cores, there was a rise in their populations at glacier retreat. Yet, further warming jeopardize the future of penguin populations. The first observations of a drop induced by climate change in the populations of penguins were made in the 1970s in the West Antarctic Peninsula. There, the populations of Adélie penguins have been reduced of about 30 to 60 % in association with a reduction in the extent of winter sea ice. In contrast, both populations of Gentoo and Chinstrap penguin have increased in parallel. Moreover, not all populations of Adélie penguins should drop, as the projection of climate models suggest that their circumpolar distribution will allow the development of refugia. The same applies for emperor penguins. They form a single genetic population, due to their outstanding mobility around the Antarctic continent. Considering the gradient of temperatures along the coasts of Antarctica, it will allow them to select and establish in the most suitable environments. In contrast, king penguins appear to be seriously endangered. Indeed, they have already to travel on huge distances at sea because pelagic fish is their main prey. With warming, these resources will move southward at much larger foraging distances of their breeding grounds on subantarctic islands, making uncertain that the birds will be able to go back and forth. Altogether, climate change will therefore have contrasting effects on penguin populations.

Personal information

Yvon LE MAHO is an ecophysiologist, Emeritus Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

His main interest is to understand those physiological and behavioral mechanisms that enable wild animals to cope with environmental constraints, such as extreme cold, lack of food and impact of climate change. He has initiated and conducted two major projects on Antarctic penguins and sea turtles, which are further developed today by two of his former PhD students. With a particular focus on biodiversity as a source of biomedical innovation, Y Le Maho and his colleagues have discovered an antibiobiotic peptide. It may partly explain how incubating male king penguins are able to conserve food in their stomach for several weeks at their body temperature of 37°C in order to feed the newly hatched chick if their mate has not come back in time. This molecule is efficient against Staphylococcus aureus and Aspergillus fumigatus. Since the early 90s, Y. Le Maho is innovating in new technology to investigate wild animals while minimizing disturbance. He pioneered the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and he is developing robots camouflaged in fake penguins. He has published more than 150 papers in international journals, of which 12 in Nature journals. He is member of the French Academy of Sciences, French Academy of Pharmacy, Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters and Academia Europaea. Since 2018, he is chair of the board of the French Polar Institute.

"Microbes in Glacier on the Tibetan Plateau: Past Present Future"

Yongqin Liu, Tandong Yao

Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS,China

Present’s Email:


Microbes are dominant in glaciers and sensitive to climate change. They date the past, drive the present and influence the future of glacier and downstream ecosystem. The microbe in ice core record the past climatical and environmental change. Bacterial abundance, diversity, and community composition among Geladangdong, Ninjingangsang and Zuoqiupu ice cores were related to geographical location and annual climatic events specific to each glacier. Despite the broad environmental differences among the three ice cores studied, bacterial community composition in the ice cores converged through time. These biotic changes are related to increasing air temperature, atmosphere cycle impacts, and anthropogenic activities that have occurred on and around the Plateau during the last half-century. The microbe in glacier influences the glacier melting and carbon cycle in the present. They decrease the glacier albedo increasing the melting and drive carbon metabolism to determine the amount of organic carbon in the glacier. In the future, the microbe in glacier influences the downstream lake ecosystem as glacier shrinking. Glacier melting input bacteria into preglacier lake, drive the variation of bacterial community composition and diversity. Glacier melting caused the change of conductivity and nutrient status of glacier-fed lakes to have a great impact on bacterial community composition and diversity.

(Image : Science Center Singapore)