Dispersal will limit ability of mammals to track climate change in the Western Hemisphere

School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 05/2012; 109(22):8606-11. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1116791109
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT As they have in response to past climatic changes, many species will shift their distributions in response to modern climate change. However, due to the unprecedented rapidity of projected climatic changes, some species may not be able to move their ranges fast enough to track shifts in suitable climates and associated habitats. Here, we investigate the ability of 493 mammals to keep pace with projected climatic changes in the Western Hemisphere. We modeled the velocities at which species will likely need to move to keep pace with projected changes in suitable climates. We compared these velocities with the velocities at which species are able to move as a function of dispersal distances and dispersal frequencies. Across the Western Hemisphere, on average, 9.2% of mammals at a given location will likely be unable to keep pace with climate change. In some places, up to 39% of mammals may be unable to track shifts in suitable climates. Eighty-seven percent of mammalian species are expected to experience reductions in range size and 20% of these range reductions will likely be due to limited dispersal abilities as opposed to reductions in the area of suitable climate. Because climate change will likely outpace the response capacity of many mammals, mammalian vulnerability to climate change may be more extensive than previously anticipated.

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Available from: Joshua J Lawler, Aug 18, 2015
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    • "For example, decreasing landscape resistance is the most recommended management strategy in the published literature on climate change (Heller and Zavaleta 2009). However, species may not be able to move fast enough to keep pace with climate change velocity in many locations, regardless of the local landscape resistance (Malcolm et al. 2002, Loarie et al. 2009, Schloss et al. 2012). Hence, decreasing landscape resistance will have varying benefits across the landscape due to spatial variation in climate change velocity. "
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    • "physical, climatic ). The velocity of climate change is likely to differ between landscapes, for example savanna vs. montane, creating strong spatial heterogeneity in the rates of range shift required to keep pace with shifting climate spaces (Loarie et al., 2009; Schloss et al., 2012). Furthermore, vegetation and human responses to climate change will affect land use patterns over time, creating greater imperative for range shifts, but also potentially altering landscape permeability (Mahmood et al., 2014). "
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    • "We used the modified geometric dispersal model of Miller and Carroll (1989) to calculate dispersal probability based on distance. The distance of dispersal for an animal agent k of species i is calculated as: d ik ¼ D i X k À p 0 1 À p 0 (10) where D i is the maximum dispersal distance for species i (Schloss et al., 2012), p 0 is the probability of not dispersing (Miller and Carroll, 1989), and X k is a random number between 0 and 1. "
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