How does life on our planet respond to--and shape--climate? This question has never been more urgent than it is today, when humans are faced with the daunting task of guiding adaptation to an inexorably changing climate. This concise, accessible, and authoritative book provides an unmatched introduction to the most reliable current knowledge about the complex relationship between living things and climate. Using an Earth System framework, David Schimel describes how organisms, communities of organisms, and the planetary biosphere itself react to and influence environmental change. While much about the biosphere and its interactions with the rest of the Earth System remains a mystery, this book explains what is known about how physical and chemical climate affect organisms, how those physical changes influence how organisms function as individuals and in communities of organisms, and ultimately how climate-triggered ecosystem changes feed back to the physical and chemical parts of the Earth System. An essential introduction, Climate and Ecosystems shows how Earth's living systems profoundly shape the physical world.