The need for unrealistic experiments in global change biology

Sinead Collins, Harriet Whittaker, Mridul K. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Climate change is an existential threat, and our ability to conduct experiments on how organisms will respond to it is limited by logistics and resources, making it vital that experiments be maximally useful. The majority of experiments on phytoplankton responses to warming and CO 2 use only two levels of each driver. However, to project the characters of future populations, we need a mechanistic and generalisable explanation for how phytoplankton respond to concurrent changes in temperature and CO 2. This requires experiments with more driver levels, to produce response surfaces that can aid in the development of predictive models. We recommend prioritising experiments or programmes that produce such response surfaces on multiple scales for phytoplankton.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102151
Number of pages17
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Early online date4 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • multiple drivers
  • phytoplankon
  • ocean acidification
  • carbon dioxide
  • warming
  • response curve
  • experimental design


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