Mountaintop Species: How Are Alpine Plant Communities Shifting with Climate Change?

‘Our mountains are shrinking!’ shout headlines referring to summits and climate change, while that’s not literally true, our mountains are staying pretty much the same shape and size, it’s the alpine region, the coldest part of the mountain top, that’s shrinking thanks to climate change.

What’s happening to the plant communities that live on these summits, is of great interest to plant ecologists. Are warmer–adapted species able to move up the slope? Will they compete with our summit species? Are we going to lose our specially-adapted species?

To find out more, this episode joins Bente Graae, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Pieter de Frenne, from the Forest and Nature Lab at Ghent University in the field, surveying plots at several summits around Abisko. Thanks also to Øystein Hjorthol Opedal and Hanne Torsdatter Petlund.


After listening, please consider taking part in a short listener survey. It'll take less than 10 minutes, all responses are anonymous and the data collected will form part of Emma Brisdion's MSc thesis. Click here to take the survey: 


More episodes and information can be found here.


Based at the Abisko Scientific Research Station, this podcast takes you into the field with scientists as they investigate climate change in an Arctic environment.


Get in touch:

Tweet @ArcticCIRC  Emma @emmabrisdion



Produced in partnership with the Climate Impacts Research Centre, Umea University.


Vector graphic: Freepik

Music: Mark Skinner