Biology Bulletin Reviews (v.2, #2)

The functioning of natural ecosystems supporting the most important biogeochemical cycles of the planet, including the carbon cycle, is considered. These cycles form the main greenhouse gas fluxes between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere, and they determine the water, radiation, and temperature conditions of the land and the system of atmospheric circulation over the continents. Climate-regulating ecosystem functions are shown to change significantly due to large-scale anthropogenic transformations of natural ecosystems and current climate shifts. A new “ecologocentric” concept of nature management is needed to conserve the natural mechanisms of regulation of the environment and climate. This concept takes into consideration the priority value of environment-forming functions of natural ecosystems, including their climate-regulating functions
Keywords: natural ecosystems; climate change; climate-regulation function of ecosystems; ecologocentric concept of nature management; carbon cycle; climate policy

Biodiversity and climate in the context of the self-similarity concept by D. B. Gelashvili; L. A. Solntsev; D. I. Iudin (124-131).
The current state of and prospects for studying biodiversity and climate change from similar methodological positions are analyzed on the basis of fractal theory. The reconstruction of the species composition of fossil small mammal communities in the northern Caspian Sea is considered by the example of the Terek-Kuma paleocenosis using multifractal analysis. The results of the multifractal analysis of the Rodentia taxonomic diversity in Europe in the Neogene are discussed.
Keywords: self-similarity concept; climate change; biodiversity; fractal; fractal geometry; mammals of the northern Caspian Sea

Consequences of “rapid” climate changes (comparable to the characteristic time with the changes of biota, ecosystems, and their successions) are discussed in the context of the revelation of a new phenomenology in biogeography. The influence of climatic changes on biogeographic boundaries, the status of biogeographic borders, and possibilities of the new biogeographic regionalization of Russia is considered. The role of biogenic, pedolithospheric, and pedospheric carbon cycles as the basis of climate cyclicity and the environmental role of the biota is evaluated. Examples are given of climatogenic trends and cycles of the biota affecting the modern biogeographical situation in northern Eurasia: the resettlement of species, changes of seasonal migration routes, changes in successional systems, climatogenic changes of the areas and biogeographical status of species, activation of invasive alien species, etc. The possibilities of using the principles of island biogeography in analysis of the current dynamics of biodiversity in conditions of climate changes are revealed. Finally, questions of registering changes in climate and their biogeographic implications in the practice of biodiversity conservation are considered.
Keywords: biogeography; island biogeography; biogeographical consequences; biogeographic borders; biodiversity; biota; ecosystem; changes of the areas; “rapid” climate changes; succession; climatogenic trends; cycles of invasions of alien species

The predictive analysis of biotic regulation of the carbon cycle by the forest ecosystems of the Volga Basin in the case of climatic changes is carried out using empirical and statistical models based on the materials of large-scale landscape and ecological surveys. This paper presents the experience of local and regional cartography of the carbon balance and sustainability of forest ecosystems and gives an estimate of their influence on the carbon exchange of the terrestrial surface with the atmosphere according to the well-known scenario of global warming.
Keywords: forest ecosystems; modeling; carbon balance; climatic changes; Volga Basin; functional states of forest ecosystems

Changes in the areas of wood and bush species in Russia are characterized based on the data of forest fund inventories for 1988–2009. Criteria are suggested for revealing the extent of climatic influence on the discovered trends. Comparisons with the results of independent field and model investigations are carried out. Climate is ascertained as the evident cause of changes in areas occupied by spruce and oak and as the probable cause of changes in the areas of black alder, poplar, and tree willows.
Keywords: change in tree species diversity; climatic change; structure of forest fund

Peatland biodiversity and climate change by T. Yu. Minayeva; A. A. Sirin (164-175).
It is shown that peatlands are characterized by specific biological diversity on the genetic, species, ecosystem, and landscape levels. They often present the best preserved areas, habitats, and shelters for biological species. Peatlands form a specific environment and play a significant part in the regulation of climate due to their participation in the water and carbon cycles. They are characterized by a wide range of biodiversity; spatial heterogeneity; and a particular structural and functional integrity, which is determined by the interrelations between excessive moisture, peatland vegetation, and peat. The scope of all the features mentioned presupposes a specific, often ambiguous, response of peatlands and their biodiversity to climate change.
Keywords: peatlands; ecosystems; biodiversity; climate change; peat deposits; paleoecology

Issues of interrelations between climate and land ecosystems (mainly, their basic component: vegetative land cover) are considered in the paper. The hysteresis effect, which manifests itself in the dynamics of biome boundaries, is described on both a global and a regional scale and based on data analysis of the primary production of aboveground phytomass and evaporability. The work helps reveal centers of interannual stability of the onset of phenological events throughout the territory of European Russia and study regularities in their shifts during the vegetation period. The interannual temporal variability in the onset of natural events is shown to remain within the range of climatic variables. It is established that the temporal patterns for the onset of many spring events have advanced to earlier dates over the past decades (whereas those for autumn events have shifted to later dates) and the vegetation periods have extended, e.g., by more than ten additional days in the northern part of European Russia. However, phenological responses to global warming show differences across regions and groups of organisms, which evidences that the biota responds as a whole to present-day climate changes in different ways.
Keywords: climate change; terrestrial ecosystems; territory of European Russia; phenological phenomena; changes in phenological indicators

The data of Voronezh reserve meteorological station for the period 1936–2010 testify to a significant increase in the average, minimum, and maximum temperatures in March and a well-marked increase in the average and maximum temperatures in April. The spring arrival of the song thrush and chaffinch to their nesting sites correlates with the average March temperature. Birds arrive much earlier in warmer springs than in cold ones; however, a reliable downward trend of dates in the arrival of both species was not revealed. Reproduction begins with the laying of the first egg and correlates with the sum of positive temperatures in the period prior to nesting. In warm springs, which have become frequent over the last 30 years, both species start laying eggs earlier; a breeding peak is quickly formed, and it lasts longer. Also, part of the population produces 2 or 3 broods. The following spring, birds tend to nest earlier even if the temperature drops.
Keywords: Voronezh biosphere reserve; song thrush; chaffinch; climate change; phenology; nesting dates; breeding cycles

A population-phenogenetic analysis of plants (European white birch) based on investigation of the stability of their development in natural populations was performed. The data obtained allow characterizing the violation of the stability in natural populations as a response of developing organisms to environmental (climate) changes not only in the reclamation of new high-altitude areas, but during temperature increases in plains as well.
Keywords: stability of development; European white birch; climate change; population-phenogenetic analysis; ecological periphery of an area

The dynamics of developmental stability of two burying beetle species displays the trend of an increase in fluctuating asymmetry indices at almost all of the studied sites. It is assumed that the most likely cause of the observed alterations is the deviations from optimal conditions, which result mainly from global climate change.
Keywords: developmental stability; climate change; burying beetles; Kaluga city pine forest