Ecosystems and Climate Change

Until recently the prevailing paradigm in much of ecological research was one of organisms, communities and ecosystems in ‘balance’ with their environment (“the balance of nature”). There is now, however, general recognition that anthropogenic alterations of the Earth system, and especially of atmospheric composition and the character of the land surface, have led to changes in global and regional climatic conditions, and will continue to do so at least throughout the present century. This recognition has stimulated new awareness of the need to understand how the ecosystems respond to, or interact with, changes in the climate system, as well as a wider awareness of the ‘Ecosystems’ response to variability in climate at all-time scales.

The need for understanding of the interactions between the Ecosystems and the climate is rendered more urgent by global commitments to conserve biodiversity and to limit climatic change to levels that will not cause damage. There are many identifiable hazards and risks associated with the interactions between ecological systems and the changing climate: such as the provision of freshwater (including from the snow and glacier masses), microbial diversity and their governed elemental cycles, clean and breathable air, forest resources, quality and quantity of food, and human well-being. Furthermore, whilst the developed world is responsible for much of the problem, the developing world and indigenous people worldwide are expected to suffer more severe impacts. The developing world often lacks the resilience resources to address the consequences of climatic change.

The ECOSYSTEMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE Group, however, offers new potential to explore more explicitly the risks and hazards arising from the interactions between ecological systems and the changing climate. It also offers opportunities to combine relevant strengths in the various fields of natural sciences to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on the ecosystems.

Focus Areas

  • Climate change and hydrological modeling
  • GIS and remote sensing
  • Biodiversity exploration, utilization and conservation
  • Microbial ecology
  • Biogeochemical cycling
  • Bio-culture diversity

Research Projects 

  1. Glacier changes and associated hydrologic impact under warming climate in Hunza Valley along the Sino-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
  2. Intercropping Systems, CPEC initiative)
  3. Evaluation, adaptation studies and popularization of Kiwi Fruit in different ecologies (upper and lower altitudes) of Hazara division.
  4. Study on the skin care efficacy of medicinal plants from Himalayan region
  5. “P-solubilizing Microbial Consortia from Lower Himalayas and their Potential for Bioethanol Production”
  6. Assessment of Native Morchella Species Growth Factor In Situ and their Implementation for pilot Scale Production
  7. Utilization of complex network of microbial interactions for mobilization of soil phosphorus inaccessible for plant growth.
  8. Ecological impact of transgenic Bt cotton hybrids on soil biological attributes of varying agricultural soils in Pakistan
  9. Impact of veterinary medicines on anaerobic digestion efficiency to generate biogas and potential spread of environmental multidrug resistance
  10. Nitrogen cycling in different soil ecosystems and influence of the size of nosZ denitrifers on overall budget of the greenhouse gas-nitrous oxide.
  11. Ecological aspects of nitrogen cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and the emission of nitrous oxide, an important greenhouse gas.
  12. Investigating the snow cover and glaciers variation trend in the Gilgit River basin, using satellite remote sensing
  13. Isolation and identification of bacterial grazer nematodes: their effect on rhizo-bacterial communities and phosphorus uptake by pine seedlings
  14. Metabolic Bases Of Soil-Biota Interactions And Their Biocontrol Potential For Host Plants
  15. P-solubilizing   Microbial Consortia from Lower Himalayas and their Potential for Bioethanol Production.
  16. Metabolic activity in pea (Pisum sativum.L) cultivars in combined treatments of K+ & Na+ and varying salinity levels.
  17. Purification of Thermus aquaticus DNA polymerase expressed in Escherichia coli and in-house preparation for PCR reactions
  18. Phytochemical profiling and in vitro antioxidant activity of selected edible wild fruits consumed by local communities of Lesser Himalayas-Pakistan
  19. Impact of Environment on Phytochemicals Content, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities in Allium cepa L.
  20. Climate change impact on cryosphere melt and hydrology of a high-altitude river catchment - use of a blend of remote sensing and ground data
  21. Environmental, Psycho-Social & Economic Determinants of Maternal Health In Hazara Division

Research Facilities

  • General Instrumental Lab. equipped with AAS, GC, HPLC, UV-S, FTIR etc.
  • Environmental Microbiology Lab.
  • General Microbiology Lab.
  • GIS & Remote Sensing Virtual Lab.
  • Plant diversity Utilization and Conservation Lab.
  • Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Lab.