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Global Change Biology

Erica Bree Rosenblum

Publication Date - 13 January 2021

ISBN: 9780190644642

416 pages
7 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches

The first text for global change biology courses, Rosenblum's broad coverage goes beyond climate in order to investigate the rich tapestry of how human actions have affected the planet and all other organisms


Global Change Biology is available in e-book format only. Print-on-demand can be provided for orders where print is specified.

Bree Rosenblum's Global Change Biology provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of Global Change Biology and a roadmap for structuring Global Change Biology courses, a burgeoning field of biological study. The first of its kind, Rosenblum goes beyond the narrow focus of existing texts, which tend to focus on climate only, by offering a conceptionally integrated approach to understanding how humans have impacted life on Earth. The textbook guides students to think about change across spatial and temporal scales and fills a unique niche of integrating ecological and evolutionary perspectives throughout.

The conceptual arc of the textbook is organized around four fundamental learning objectives that traverse the past, present, and future. Students will explore: a) the complex history of planetary change, b) the impact of contemporary stressors across biological levels, biomes, and the tree of life, c) the dynamic interactions and responses of living systems to planetary change, and d) the opportunities for maintaining resilient ecosystems in a changing world. Enrichment features include Core Concepts boxes reviewing foundational material, Meet the Data boxes providing direct experience interpreting global change biology data, and Taking a Closer Look providing an opportunity to evaluate multifaceted biological responses in complex systems. Pre- and post- assessment tools like The Blank Page and reflection questions throughout, encourage students to reflect, self-assess, and deepen their learning.

The primary intended audience for Global Change Biology is upper division undergraduate students who are ready to apply key concepts in ecology and evolution to the Global Change Biology theme area and develop a more analytical and integrative skill set as scientists. However, the textbook has crossover power to engage other audiences and provide a roadmap for developing courses to inform and inspire students about the study of life on a rapidly changing planet.


  • The first of its kind. There is no other text on the market as focused on Global Change Biology as its own discipline. This textbook provides a definitive and cutting-edge treatment of the dynamic field of Global Change Biology. The book offers a comprehensive resource for instructors looking to develop an inspiring course about the study of life on a rapidly changing planet.
  • Expansive. A unique approach that traverses spatial (local to planetary), temporal (past to pressing), and biological (genes to ecosystems) levels with examples throughout the tree of life (microbes to mammals).
  • Integrative. Draws from many different fields and approaches and addresses complex and pressing topics.
  • Interactive. Many features designed for student engagement, reflection, and self-assessment including:
  • · The Blank Page. An opening feature of each chapter that provides a guided drawing or writing exercise that draws on the student's own experience with the topic in the upcoming chapter.
  • · Taking a Closer Look. Multifaceted case-studies organized around specific stressors, ecosystems, or issues at the intersection of science and society
  • · Meet the Data. Answers the call for more practice with quantitative reasoning; goes beyond the content to teach how to be a Global Change biologist.
  • · Reflection questions provided for each Figure and Table

About the Author(s)

Bree Rosenblum is currently an Associate Professor of Global Change Biology at UC Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. She received her B.A. from Brown University and her PhD from UC Berkeley. Bree's research focuses on understanding the biological diversity of our planet. Specifically, she is interested in how new species form and why species are being lost at such an alarming rate in our contemporary world. Her research crosses scales from genes to ecosystems, and takes her from deserts to rainforests around the world. Bree's work has been recognized by numerous awards and is featured regularly in the popular and educational press. Bree also provides leadership for several initiatives aimed at transforming higher education and fostering discovery-oriented learning.

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1. Approaches in Global Change Biology
    How Did the Field of Global Change Biology Develop?
    How Are Global Change Biology Studies Designed?
    What Key Research Approaches Are Used in Global Change Biology?
    What Key Tools Are Used in Global Change Biology?
    Core Concepts: How are Data Displayed?
    Meet the Data: The Economic Value of Nature
    Taking a Closer Look: The Value of Biological Diversity

    Chapter 2. Brief History of Life on Earth
    What Key Transitions Led to the Emergence of Life on Earth?
    How Did Cellular Life Evolve and Diversify?
    What Evolutionary Processes Shape Biological Diversity?
    When Have Speciation and Extinction Rates Been Particularly High?
    Core Concepts: What is a Phylogenetic Tree?
    Meet the Data: The Ring of Life
    Taking a Closer Look: Biological Levels of Change

    Chapter 3. Rise of the Humans
    When and How Did Early Hominids Evolve?
    When and How Did Modern Humans Spread Around the World?
    How Did Early Human Civilizations Impact the Environment?
    Core Concepts: What Is In a Name?
    Meet the Data: Ice Age Genetics
    Taking a Closer Look: The Evolutionary Success of Humans

    Chapter 4. The Anthropocene
    What Is the Anthropocene and When Did It Begin?
    What Are Patterns of Contemporary Population Growth?
    How Are Contemporary Human Civilizations Impacting the Environment?
    How Do Anthropogenic Stressors Interact with Each Other?
    What Influences Overall Vulnerability to Global Change Pressures?
    Core Concepts: What is Climate and How Is It Measured?
    Meet the Data: Pollinators and Pesticides
    Taking a Closer Look: Historical and Contemporary Climate Change


    Chapter 5. Core Responses: Move
    How and Why Do Organisms Move?
    What Is a Geographic Range?
    What Factors Determine a Species' Geographic Range?
    Do Range Changes Occur Even Without Anthropogenic Influence?
    What Types of Range Changes Occur in Response to Anthropogenic Pressures?
    How Do Scientists Predict Range Changes?
    Core Concepts: What Is a Niche?
    Meet the Data: A Century of Change in Yosemite
    Taking a Closer Look: Globalization and Invasive Species

    Chapter 6. Core Responses: Adjust
    What Is Phenotypic Plasticity?
    Is the Capacity for Plasticity Consistent Across Traits and Species?
    What Types of Plasticity Occur in Response to Global Change
    What Mechanisms Underlie Phenotypic Plasticity?
    How Do Scientists Assess and Predict Phenotypic Plasticity?
    Can Plasticity Facilitate Long-Term Persistence?
    Core Concepts: What Are the Mechanisms of Heredity?
    Meet the Data: Phenology and Global Warming
    Taking a Closer Look: Urbanization

    Chapter 7. Core Responses: Adapt
    What Conditions Are Required for Adaptation?
    What Is an Example of Evolution by Natural Selection?
    What Types of Adaptation Occur in Response to Global Change Pressures?
    How Do Scientists Identify Adaptations and Predict Adaptive Potential?
    Can Adaptation Prevent Extinction?
    Core Concepts: Where Does Genetic Variation Come From?
    Meet the Data: The Daphnia Time Machine
    Taking a Closer Look: Coral Reefs

    Chapter 8. Core Responses: Die
    How Is the Survival of Individuals, Populations, and Species Connected?
    What Are Examples of Extinction in Response to Global Change Pressures?
    How Do Scientists Estimate Extinction Risk?
    How Do Scientists Summarize Global Patterns of Extinction Risk?
    What Is the Sixth Mass Extinction?
    Core Concepts: What is Extinction Debt?
    Meet the Data: The Sixth Mass Extinction
    Taking a Closer Look: Amphibian Declines


    Chapter 9. Community-Level Responses
    What Are Key Types of Biological Interactions?
    How Do Global Change Pressures Affect Biological Interactions?
    How Does Extinction Affect Communities?
    What Are Cascading Effects?
    Core Concepts: What Are Above- and Below-Ground Food Webs?
    Meet the Data: The Collapse of Mutualisms
    Taking a Closer Look: Kelp Forests and Trophic Cascades

    Chapter 10. Ecosystem-Level Responses
    What Are Biogeochemical Cycles?
    How Do Global Change Pressures Impact Ecosystems?
    How Do Global Change Pressures Impact Large-Scale Earth Systems?
    What Is a Feedback?
    What Is Ecosystem Collapse?
    What Is Ecosystem Resilience?
    Core Concepts: What is a Biodiversity Hotspot?
    Meet the Data: Greenhouse Gases in the Soil
    Taking a Closer Look: Factors Influencing Response to Global Change


    Chapter 11. Conservation in an Era of Global Change
    Why Is It Important to Explicitly Define Conservation Priorities?
    Why Is It Important to Match Conservation Actions to Particular Biological Levels?
    What Are Examples of Fine-Filter Conservation Strategies?
    What Are Examples of Coarse-Filter Conservation Strategies?
    What Is Adaptive Management?
    Core Concepts: What is Climate Mitigation?
    Meet the Data: Maximizing Evolutionary Diversity
    Taking a Closer Look: Emerging Technologies and Conservation Ethics

    Chapter 12. Aligning the Interests of Biodiversity and Human Society
    What Are Coupled Human-Natural Systems?
    What Societal Levers Can Be Used to Support Biodiversity Conservation?
    How Can Individuals Support Biodiversity Conservation?
    How Can Collectives Support Biodiversity Conservation?
    How Can Policy Action Support Biodiversity Conservation?
    What Is the Forecast for the Future?
    Core Concepts: What is I=PAT?
    Meet the Data: Financial Incentives for Dynamic Conservation
    Taking a Closer Look: Environmental Worldviews