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Recent climate change should result in expansion of species to northern or high elevation range margins,

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Although most organisms thermoregulate behaviorally, biologists still cannot easily predict whether mobile animals will thermoregulate in natural environments. Current models fail because they ignore how the spatial distribution of thermal resources constrains thermoregulatory performance over space and time. To overcome this limitation, we modeled the spatially explicit movements of animals constrained by access to thermal resources. Our models predict that ectotherms thermoregulate more accurately when thermal resources are dispersed throughout space than when these resources are clumped. This prediction was supported by thermoregulatory behaviors of lizards in outdoor arenas with known distributions of environmental temperatures. Further, simulations showed how the spatial structure of the landscape qualitatively affects responses of animals to climate. Biologists will need spatially explicit models to predict impacts of climate change on local scales.
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For many years plant ecologists have espoused the notion that habitats differ in an intrinsic quality that has been called favorableness. Here I point out that the concept of favorableness is circular and counterproductive. I develop the thesis that species diversity is determined by the balance of several dynamic processes: speciation, competition, immigration, adaptation, and extinction. A simple kinetic model places each of these processes in a definite perspective. My arguments are based on the observation that widespread mesic environments commonly support vegetation containing greater species diversity than environments of more unusual character such as sand dunes, inundated depressions, bogs, mountain tops, saline soils, etc. Habitats such as these, that incorporate uncommon features and are often patchy and of small total area, are called peripheral habitats. Empirical and theoretical considerations both lead to the opinion that the pressure of competition in the species-rich communities of mesic ...
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Aim Concern over the implications of climate change for biodiversity has led to the use of species–climate ‘envelope’ models to forecast risks of species extinctions under climate change scenarios. Recent studies have demonstrated significant variability in model projections and there remains a need to test the accuracy of models and to reduce uncertainties. Testing of models has been limited by a lack of data against which projections of future ranges can be tested. Here we provide a first test of the predictive accuracy of such models using observed species’ range shifts and climate change in two periods of the recent past. Location Britain. Methods Observed range shifts for 116 breeding bird species in Britain between 1967 and 1972 (t1) and 1987–91 (t2) are used. We project range shifts between t1 and t2 for each species based on observed climate using 16 alternative models (4 methods × 2 data parameterizations × 2 rules to transform probabilities of occurrence into presence and absence records). Results Modelling results were extremely variable, with projected range shifts varying both in magnitude and in direction from observed changes and from each other. However, using approaches that explore the central tendency (consensus) of model projections, we were able to improve agreement between projected and observed shifts significantly. Conclusions Our results provide the first empirical evidence of the value of species–climate ‘envelope’ models under climate change and demonstrate reduction in uncertainty and improvement in accuracy through selection of the most consensual projections.
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Global warming impels species to track their shifting habitats or adapt to new conditions. Both processes are critically influenced by individual dispersal. In many animals, dispersal behaviour is plastic, but how organisms with plastic dispersal respond to climate change is basically unknown. Here, we report the analysis of interannual dispersal change from 16 years of monitoring a wild population of the common lizard, and a 12-year manipulation of lizards' diet intended to disentangle the direct effect of temperature rise on dispersal from its effects on resource availability. We show that juvenile dispersal has declined dramatically over the last 16 years, paralleling the rise of spring temperatures during embryogenesis. A mesoscale model of metapopulation dynamics predicts that in general dispersal inhibition will elevate the extinction risk of metapopulations exposed to contrasting effects of climate warming.
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The multivoltine, estuarine amphipodGammarus lawrencianus has four generations per year in an environment where temperatures range seasonally from –1 to 25C. Temperature-response curves for rates of brood production and development were determined by laboratory experiments and field observation. The life history and population dynamics were observed over a full annual cycle (1981) for a field population located at Rocky Run, Porter's Lake, Nova Scotia, Canada. On a natural (i.e., sidereal) time scale, the generations appear to have very different life histories: the two summer generations have short lives, rapid development and mature at small size (classicr-selection), whereas the overwintering generations have relatively low rates of mortality, slow development and mature at large size (classicK-selection). This pattern (larger size at maturity at lower temperatures) is widespread in aquatic poikilotherms. Similar life-history differences are evident among cohorts of the summer generations that mature at different temperatures. When time is expressed on a physiological scale that removes the effect of temperature on embryonic development and reproductive rate, the variation within and among generations is greatly reduced. In particular, an apparent alternation betweenr- andK-selection largely disappears. Because the generations are temporally isolated, it might be surmised that natural selection acting on the summer generations might antagonize the effects of natural selection acting on the fall and winter generations. However, the scaling of the rates of development, maturation, growth, reproduction and mortality on the physiological time scale derived from the temperature dependence of development and reproductive rate gives a very different and more homogeneous pattern.
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Hatchling Sceloporus occidentalis from northern populations (central Oregon) grow more slowly than hatchlings from southern populations (southern California) in nature. In this study, I determine whether this difference in growth rate results from differences in thermal environment and/or in thermoregulatory behavior. To determine the degree to which the thermal environment affects growth rate among populations, I reared hatchings from the northern and southern populations in a cycling thermal regime in one of three experimental treatments differing in access to radiant heat (6, 9, or 12 h radiant heat; remainder of 24 h at 15°C). I also measured the body temperature that each individual voluntarily selected over the course of the daily activity cycle. Growth rate varied positively with duration of access to radiant heat. Within the three treatments, individual growth rate was positively correlated with body temperature. Moreover, the difference in growth rate between the northern and southern populations was due in part to differences in behavior - individuals from northern populations selected lower body temperatures. I found that significant variation in body temperature was associated with family membership, suggesting that thermal physiology has a genetic basis. Moreover, growth rate was correlated with body temperature among families in each population suggesting a genetic correlation underlies the phenotypic correlations. Thus, genetically based variation in thermal physiology contributes to differences in growth rate among individuals within a population as well as to differences among populations.
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The first expected symptoms of a climate change-generated biodiversity crisis are range contractions and extinctions at lower elevational and latitudinal limits to species distributions. However, whilst range expansions at high elevations and latitudes have been widely documented, there has been surprisingly little evidence for contractions at warm margins. We show that lower elevational limits for 16 butterfly species in central Spain have risen on average by 212 m (± SE 60) in 30 years, accompanying a 1.3 °C rise (equivalent to c. 225 m) in mean annual temperature. These elevational shifts signify an average reduction in habitable area by one-third, with losses of 50-80% projected for the coming century, given maintenance of the species thermal associations. The results suggest that many species have already suffered climate-mediated habitat losses that may threaten their long-term chances of survival.
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Climate change over the past approximately 30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundances of species and has been implicated in one species-level extinction. Using projections of species' distributions for future climate scenarios, we assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth's terrestrial surface. Exploring three approaches in which the estimated probability of extinction shows a power-law relationship with geographical range size, we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15-37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be 'committed to extinction'. When the average of the three methods and two dispersal scenarios is taken, minimal climate-warming scenarios produce lower projections of species committed to extinction ( approximately 18%) than mid-range ( approximately 24%) and maximum-change ( approximately 35%) scenarios. These estimates show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.
Biological response to climate change on a tropical mountain
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Recent and rapid extinction at the southern margin of the common lizard's species range due to climate change
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B. Sinervo et al., Recent and rapid extinction at the southern margin of the common lizard's species range due to climate change. Nature Climate Change, (submitted).
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Thermal ecology of desert tortoises in the eastern Mojave Desert: seasonal patterns of operative and body temperatures, and microhabitat utilization
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