What are microrefugia?

Microrefugia are pockets of local microclimate where species can survive even when the regional climate becomes unsuitable. Extinctions resulting from global warming are less likely in microrefugia than in the surrounding region due to the favourable microclimatic conditions.

Our work has shown species can survive for longer in places where the topography generates variation in microclimate1. READ MORE

We have also shown that plant communities are less sensitive to climate change in cool, damp microclimates2. READ MORE

See a short video of microclimate research group alumni Andrew Suggit talking about his work with us.

Key references

1Suggitt AJ, Wilson RJ, Isaac NJB, Beale CM, Auffret AG, August T, Bennie JJ, Crick HQP, Duffield S, Fox R, Hopkins JJ, Macgregor NA, Morecroft MD, Walker KJ & Maclean IMD (2018) Extinction risk from climate change is reduced by microclimatic buffering. Nature Climate Change 8: 713-717.

2Maclean IMD, Hopkins JJ, Bennie J, Lawson CR & Wilson RJ (2015) Microclimates buffer the responses of plant communities to climate change. Global Ecology & Biogeography 24 (11): 1340-1350.