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Dr Ralf Ohlemüller

Position:

Senior Lecturer

Qualifications:Diplom Biologe (Bonn), PhD (Otago)

Office Hours:

by email appointment

 

Teaching

GEOG287 Plants, People and the Environment (coordinator)
GEOG290 Field Research Methods (coordinator)
GEOG380 Field Research Studies (Science) (contributor)
GEOG393 Plants, People and the Environment (coordinator)
GEOG459 Biogeography (coordinator)
GEOG470 A Research Topic in Geography (contributor)
GEOG490 Dissertation (contributor)

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Research Interests

The main motivation behind my research is to understand the environmental drivers of the spatial distribution of life. My research interests are in all aspects of biogeography and climate change and most of my work follows three main lines of research:

The geography of climate change
Climate is one of the main drivers of the geographic distribution of life; it determines not only spatial patterns but also temporal changes in the distribution, performance and function of species and ecosystems. Much of my work involves developing and mapping ecologically relevant climate change indices at a range of spatial scales.

Vegetation and climate change
Plants are the foundation of most ecosystems and perform many of the functions and services that ecosystems provide. My work investigates how spatial patterns of plant biodiversity and community structure, in particular in fragmented environments, came about through past changes in climatic conditions and what might happen to these patterns in the future.

Ecological variation in space and time
Understanding heterogeneity at different levels of ecological organisation is crucial for understanding a system’s response to environmental change. I am interested in trying to understand the interplay of ecological variation (e.g., within-species genetic and phenotypic variation, seasonal processes) and geographical variation (e.g., microclimate, environmental gradients) in shaping biological communities and their response to changing environmental conditions.

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Potential Student Projects

If you are thinking about doing an MSc or PhD on research questions related to biogeography, climate change, ecology or vegetation science, please get in touch. I am always interested to speak to potential candidates about project ideas. The University offers a range of competitive postgraduate scholarships (http://www.otago.ac.nz/study/scholarships/otago020695.html).

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Postgraduate Supervision

Current postgraduate students

  • Hamish Walker (PGDip AppSc) Weed invasions and land use change in New Zealand.
  • Robbert McCann (MAppSci) Soil moisture and decomposition rates along elevational and microclimate gradients.
  • Lily Burrows (BSc Hons) Stomatal density along elevational and microclimate gradients.
  • Chaz Forsyth (MSc) Annual growth rate of silver beech (Lophozonia menziesii) across a gradient of climatic suitability.
  • Daniel Basubas (MSc) Microclimate and flowering phenology in alpine vegetation.
  • Amy Clarke (MSc) Climate drivers of alpine plant diversity in the South Island of New Zealand.


Past postgraduate students

  • Dwayne Daly (MPlan, Otago, complete): Planning for Underwater Anthropogenic Noise in New Zealand's Coastal Marine Area.
  • Victoria Ridley (MSc, Durham, complete): The impact of climatic change on Coffea arabica production in East Africa.
  • Liam Gaffney (MSc, Durham, complete): Risks to global primate diversity from climate change and other pressures.
  • Henry Häkkinen (MSc, Durham, complete): Changing climate space; a human perspective.

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Publications

Linder, H. P., Rabosky, D. L., Antonelli, A., Wüest, R. O., & Ohlemüller, R. (2014). Disentangling the influence of climatic and geological changes on species radiations. Journal of Biogeography, 41(7), 1313-1325. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12312

Normand, S., Randin, C., Ohlemüller, R., Bay, C., Høye, T. T., Kjær, E. D., … Svenning, J.-C. (2013). A greener Greenland? Climatic potential and long-term constraints on future expansions of trees and shrubs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 368(1628), 20120479. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0479

Ohlemüller, R., Huntley, B., Normand, S., & Svenning, J.-C. (2012). Potential source and sink locations for climate-driven species range shifts in Europe since the Last Glacial Maximum. Global Ecology & Biogeography, 21(2), 152-163. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2011.00674.x

Chen, I.-C., Hill, J. K., Ohlemüller, R., Roy, D. B., & Thomas, C. D. (2011). Rapid range shifts of species associated with high levels of climate warming. Science, 333(6045), 1024-1026. doi: 10.1126/science.1206432

Ohlemüller, R., Anderson, B. J., Araújo, M. B., Butchart, S. H. M., Kudrna, O., Ridgely, R. S., & Thomas, C. D. (2008). The coincidence of climatic and species rarity: High risk to small-range species from climate change. Biology Letters, 4(5), 568-572. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0097

Journal - Research Article

Linder, H. P., Rabosky, D. L., Antonelli, A., Wüest, R. O., & Ohlemüller, R. (2014). Disentangling the influence of climatic and geological changes on species radiations. Journal of Biogeography, 41(7), 1313-1325. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12312

Normand, S., Randin, C., Ohlemüller, R., Bay, C., Høye, T. T., Kjær, E. D., … Svenning, J.-C. (2013). A greener Greenland? Climatic potential and long-term constraints on future expansions of trees and shrubs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 368(1628), 20120479. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0479

Ohlemüller, R., Huntley, B., Normand, S., & Svenning, J.-C. (2012). Potential source and sink locations for climate-driven species range shifts in Europe since the Last Glacial Maximum. Global Ecology & Biogeography, 21(2), 152-163. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2011.00674.x

Chen, I.-C., Hill, J. K., Ohlemüller, R., Roy, D. B., & Thomas, C. D. (2011). Rapid range shifts of species associated with high levels of climate warming. Science, 333(6045), 1024-1026. doi: 10.1126/science.1206432

Ohlemüller, R., Anderson, B. J., Araújo, M. B., Butchart, S. H. M., Kudrna, O., Ridgely, R. S., & Thomas, C. D. (2008). The coincidence of climatic and species rarity: High risk to small-range species from climate change. Biology Letters, 4(5), 568-572. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0097

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