Arthropods play vital roles in the ecosystem (e.g., pollinators, decomposers, and others), and thus can act as indicators of ecosystem integrity. Recently, the anthropogenic impact on ecosystems, through climate change and LUC, has been devastating, especially in vulnerable regions such as the Mediterranean Basin and its numerous small islands. Advances in RCMs have resulted in extensive climate studies of the region at 12.5 km resolution; however, this is a coarse resolution for many small islands. The introduction of Convection Permitting (CP) RCM simulations allows models to resolve islands such as the Circum-Sicilian (including the Maltese) Islands (CSI), and hence study variations in arthropod habitats induced by climate change.
PALEOSIM is a multidisciplinary investigation of the climate and associated arthropod habitats in the CSI. For the first time, the RegCM can combine the CP and Paleoclimate modes to produce 2 km resolution simulations between 21000BCE and 2100CE. This span of time is characterised by slow climate and geomorphological variation at the beginning, and rapid anthropogenic climate change and LUC at the end. The paleoclimate simulations will shed light on the role humanity has played in the ecological destabilisation of many of these small islands.
This investigation will improve our understanding of past climate changes on the CSI, and showcase the potential of small islands RCM simulations. The project will provide new insight into the expected habitat changes arthropods may experience in the future, and help mitigate the destruction of these fragile ecosystems.
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