Modeling this number of species across all of the tropics requires next-generation science techniques that are being supported by national research funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US, NSERC in the UK and the Belmont Forum internationally.
"We will use computational engines, cyberinfrastructure and supercomputing supported by NSF programs to scale up our ecological models so that we can forecast how individual species respond to climate change, for hundreds of thousands of species. For the first time, we will be able to see what climate change truly means for the future of species and biomes." – Brain Enquist, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona in Tucson.
Impacts from climate change have already caused movements of species and ecosystems, often crossing national borders or the boundaries of protected areas. The ranges of species are shifting in different ways, as each tracks its unique climatic tolerances. The long-term effects of such changes could lead to novel combinations of species and new land-use conflicts. SPARC will use big data to document and synthesize the impacts of these shifts using multiple state-of-the-art climate change models, datasets and planning methods. That information will be used to pinpoint locations for new protection that will safeguard both present and future locations of species.