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Abstract

Predicting and understanding the biological response to future climate change is a pressing challenge for humanity. In the 21st century, many species will move into higher latitudes and higher elevations as the climate warms. In addition, the relative abundances of species within local assemblages is likely to change. Both effects have implications for how ecosystems function. Few biodiversity forecasts, however, take account of both shifting ranges and changing abundances. We provide a novel analysis predicting the potential changes to assemblage level relative abundances in the 21st century. We use an established relationship linking ant abundance and their colour and size traits to temperature and UV‐B to predict future abundance changes. We also predict future temperature driven range shifts and use these to alter the available species pool for our trait‐mediated abundance predictions. We do this across three continents under a low greenhouse gas emissions scenario (RCP2.6) and a business‐as‐usual scenario (RCP8.5). Under RCP2.6, predicted changes to ant assemblages by 2100 are moderate. On average, species richness will increase by 26%, while species composition and relative abundance structure will be 26% and 30% different, respectively, compared with modern assemblages. Under RCP8.5, however, highland assemblages face almost a tripling of species richness and compositional and relative abundance changes of 66% and 77%. Critically, we predict that future assemblages could be reorganised in terms of which species are common and which are rare: future highland assemblages will not simply comprise upslope shifts of modern lowland assemblages. These forecasts reveal the potential for radical change to montane ant assemblages by the end of the 21st century if temperature increases continue. Our results highlight the importance of incorporating trait‐environment relationships into future biodiversity predictions. Looking forward, the major challenge is to understand how ecosystem processes will respond to compositional and relative abundance changes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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... Therefore, we hypothesized that the biotic models will perform better than the abiotic models, and the climatic and altitudinal profile that determines the distribution of AGs will be similar for the AG ant and epiphyte species (equivalent niches). In addition, community-level projections of ants and epiphytes suggest a reduction in their geographical ranges and move upslope under climate change (Hsu et al. 2012;Bishop et al. 2019), and specialized species are expected to be the most threatened (Dunn et al. 2009). Therefore, these range changes are also expected for the AGs (entity) and the AG ant and epiphyte species individually. ...
... Even when we take into account all the available ecological knowledge about AGs and AG ant and epiphyte species, the interpretation of some of our results should be taken with caution, since we obtained a low number of occurrences for some species and do not consider their dispersal capacities (Barve et al. 2011 ). In general, ants may not have dispersal restrictions because winged reproductive individuals can fly up to kilometers to establish new colonies (Helms 2018 ; Bishop et al. 2019), which is similar for most of the wind-dispersed seeds of epiphytes (including AG epiphytes, Zotz and Bader 2009;Hsu et al. 2012) and to a lesser extent for epiphyte species dispersed by vertebrates and/or ants (e.g., AG epiphytes; Orivel and Leroy 2011 ). Therefore, both canopy ants and epiphytes (including AG ants and epiphytes) may be limited by establishment sites (host trees) rather than their dispersal capacity (Diamond et al. 2012;Hsu et al. 2012). ...
... Tropical ants and vascular epiphytes are guilds considered vulnerable to climate change (Zotz and Bader 2009;Diamond et al. 2012), however, analysis of their geographic and altitudinal distribution under scenarios of climate change is scarce (e.g., Hsu et al. 2012;Bishop et al. 2019). Our study reveals, for the first time, the potential responses to climate change of one of the most complex ant-plant mutualisms. ...
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It is suggested that specialized mutualisms are more vulnerable to climate change. Ant-gardens (AGs) are a complex and specialized mutualistic system represented by epiphytic plants that specifically inhabit the arboreal nest built by canopy ants in tropical forests. Different ant-epiphyte ensembles constitute the AGs throughout the Neotropics. However, neither the environmental factors that determine their geographical distribution nor the effects of climate change on this canopy biological system are known. Here, we estimated the ecological niche and elevational distribution of the Neotropical AGs as an entity (regardless of species composition), and individually for six AG ant and 16 AG epiphyte species in order to determine and compare their current and future distributions (vulnerability), using two unrelated Global Circulation Models for the year 2070 under two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP4.5: optimistic and RCP8.5: pessimistic). The current potential distribution of the AGs is discontinuous from Tamaulipas, Mexico, to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in low elevation areas with high mean annual temperatures (> 25 °C) and precipitation (> 2400 mm). In contrast, the individual distributions of the AG ants and epiphytes tended not to follow to this climatic profile and were segregated by both latitude and elevation. The geographic distribution of most AG ant and epiphyte species diminished under climate change, while that of the AGs increased, even under the pessimistic scenario. This suggests that AGs allow the species that comprise them to broaden their ecological niche and be more resistant to climate change than they would be outside of this system.
... Ants are a commonly used indicator taxon for monitoring changes along temperature gradients (Lach et al., 2010), which makes them suitable for studying climate-related community shifts. However, relatively little work has been conducted on ant assemblages in tropical cloud forest (e.g Mottl et al., 2019;Smith et al., 2014) despite predictions that highland assemblages are likely to change the most (Bishop et al., 2019). While the effects of habitat disturbance on ants have been well documented (Andersen, 2019), long-term data to test for climate change effects on ants are scarce. ...
... Most studies on the interaction of climatic changes with elevation, and the consequent species range shifts, have focused on vertebrates, plants, and moths (e.g., Cheng et al., 2019, and review there). Hence, the effects of climate change on ants are limited to modeled predictions (e.g., Bishop et al., 2019), or small-scale experiments in temperate forests (e.g., Diamond et al., 2016). To our knowledge, only one study has monitored long-term changes in a rain forest ant community, via multiple resurveys over a decade at 850 m a.s.l. and did not find a directional trend (Donoso, 2017). ...
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We present a reanalysis of the study by Warne et al. (2020), where authors reported substantial changes through time in a cloud forest ant assemblage in response to climate change after a decade. We show that these changes are due to major differences between the sampling periods in terms of sampling methods and effort. We stress the need for a fully standardized methodology to distinguish true climate change effects on communities from sampling bias.
... The implications of our findings are that studies focused on large scale measures like altitude may risk missing fine-scale changes associated with heterogeneous habitats. Habitat structure buffers changes in temperature and models based on temperature alone could overestimate the impact of climate change 65,66 . Fine-scale data collection is often laborious and costly, yet these data may make valuable contributions to large-scale models that would otherwise overlook microclimatic effects 23 . ...
... Here, we find that FD is well explained by finer-scale measures of habitat. That FD, and to some extent species composition, are influenced by fine-scale factors implies that predicting species' responses to climate change is complicated by habitat structure and may not be well predicted by only broad-scale predictors such as temperature and elevation 66 . This has implications for management: if vegetation structure can be maintained and managed, ectothermic species may be less impacted than expected, and it may be possible to ameliorate some of the inexorable effects of climate change, with careful conservation strategies. ...
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High-altitude-adapted ectotherms can escape competition from dominant species by tolerating low temperatures at cooler elevations, but climate change is eroding such advantages. Studies evaluating broad-scale impacts of global change for high-altitude organisms often overlook the mitigating role of biotic factors. Yet, at fine spatial-scales, vegetation-associated microclimates provide refuges from climatic extremes. Using one of the largest standardised data sets collected to date, we tested how ant species composition and functional diversity (i.e., the range and value of species traits found within assemblages) respond to large-scale abiotic factors (altitude, aspect), and fine-scale factors (vegetation, soil structure) along an elevational gradient in tropical Africa. Altitude emerged as the principal factor explaining species composition. Analysis of nestedness and turnover components of beta diversity indicated that ant assemblages are specific to each elevation, so species are not filtered out but replaced with new species as elevation increases. Similarity of assemblages over time (assessed using beta decay) did not change significantly at low and mid elevations but declined at the highest elevations. Assemblages also differed between northern and southern mountain aspects, although at highest elevations, composition was restricted to a set of species found on both aspects. Functional diversity was not explained by large scale variables like elevation, but by factors associated with elevation that operate at fine scales (i.e., temperature and habitat structure). Our findings highlight the significance of fine-scale variables in predicting organisms’ responses to changing temperature, offering management possibilities that might dilute climate change impacts, and caution when predicting assemblage responses using climate models, alone.
... When climatic conditions change within a species' range, the species' persistence will be determined by the size of its fundamental niche and capacity to adapt (Bellard et al., 2012). Therefore, forecasting species responses to climate change should perhaps be directly based on thermoregulatory traits (Bishop et al., 2019). ...
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Aim Predictions of future species distributions rest on the assumption that climatic conditions in the current range reflect fundamental niche requirements. So far, it remains unclear to what extent this is true. We tested if three important factors determining fundamental niche—ecophysiology, morphology and evolutionary history—can predict the realized niche, using thermal specialist ants. They are suitable model organisms because their body temperature, metabolism and fitness are closely tied to the habitat temperatures. Location Iberian Peninsula and Maghreb. Time period 2013–2015. Major taxa studied Ants (Hymenoptera:Formicidae). Methods We measured heat tolerance, chill coma recovery, body size and phylogenetic relationships in 19 desert specialist ants in the genus Cataglyphis to test if these important determinants of fundamental niches are good predictors of species realized niches. We modelled species climatic niches using 19 bioclimatic variables from WorldClim for recorded occurrence of each species. Results None of the determinants of the species' fundamental niche were linked to their realized climatic niche, modelled using species distribution models. However, both heat tolerance and chill coma recovery were highly correlated with body size and all three thermoregulatory traits were phylogenetically constrained, suggesting they reflect fundamental requirements of each species. Main conclusions Our results challenge the basic assumption of climatic niche modelling, that the realized niche can be used as a proxy for determining fundamental niche requirements. These findings are particularly concerning for studies that use the species' current realized niche to predict their responses to climate change.
... Most previous studies on subterranean nest architecture have been conducted in a single habitat, yet many ant species ranges span distinct habitats and climates, some of which are rapidly changing with climate and other anthropogenic disturbances 20 . Global warming has stimulated worldwide studies aiming to assess or predict the impact of rising environmental temperatures on organisms [21][22][23] . ...
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Social insects are among the most abundant arthropods in terrestrial ecosystems, where they provide ecosystem services. The effect of subterranean activity of ants on soil is well-studied, yet little is known about nest architecture due to the difficulty of observing belowground patterns. Furthermore, many species’ ranges span environmental gradients, and their nest architecture is likely shaped by the climatic and landscape features of their specific habitats. We investigated the effects of two temperature treatments on the shape and size of nests built by Formica podzolica ants collected from high and low elevations in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in a full factorial experiment. Ants nested in experimental chambers with soil surface temperatures matching the local temperatures of sample sites. We observed a plastic response of nest architecture to conditions experienced during excavation; workers experiencing a high temperature excavated deeper nests than those experiencing a cooler temperature. Further, we found evidence of local adaptation to temperature, with a significant interaction effect of natal elevation and temperature treatment on nest size and complexity. Specifically, workers from high elevation sites built larger nests with more tunnels when placed in the cool surface temperature treatment, and workers from low elevation sites exhibited the opposite pattern. Our results suggest that subterranean ant nest architecture is shaped by a combination of plastic and locally adapted building behaviors; we suggest that the flexibility of this ‘extended phenotype’ likely contributes to the widespread success of ants.
... For ant community dynamics, thermal tolerance will be a key trait. Thermally tolerant species may become dominant [73 ], while competition may intensify for heat-intolerant species [74]. Hence, climate change will alter competitive hierarchies in a community, but will also lead to novel competitors: changes in microhabitat, seasonal or daily activity will cause species to face others they did not encounter before [75]. ...
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Climate change poses a major threat to global biodiversity, already causing sharp declines of populations and species. In some social insect species we already see advanced phenologies, changes in distribution ranges, and changes in abundance Rafferty (2017) [1] and Diamond et al. (2017) [2]. Physiologically, social insects are no different from solitary insects, but they possess a number of characteristics that distinguish their response to climate change. Here, we examine these traits, which might enable them to cope better with climate change than solitary insects, but only in the short term. In addition, we discuss how climate change will alter biotic interactions and ecosystem functions, and how it will affect invasive social insects.
... Biodiversity scenarios for the 21st century predict a reduction of species in alpine habitats, predicting a shift in species' ranges to higher altitudes, which will not necessarily result in higher species richness on mountaintops (Pauli et al., 2012;Chapin et al., 2013). Within a context of global climatic warming, montane species may be shifting their geographical distribution, leading to some degree of community disassembly (Sheldon et al., 2011;Bishop et al., 2019), which potentially could alter their resilience to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Thus, baseline information about patterns and causes of the structuring of local diversity along elevation gradients and their response to natural disturbances, as provided by the current study, will be essential to assess species' future responses to increased anthropogenic disturbances. ...
Article
Volcanic eruptions often modify the structure and function of ecosystems at large geographical scales. However, the extent to which species diversity patterns respond to these major natural disturbances is still poorly known. We tested the shape of the species richness – elevation relationship (SRER) and its environmental correlates (thermal environment at ground level, vegetation structure and soil attributes) before and 6 months after (in the first summer) the most recent eruption of the Puyehue Cordon Caulle volcanic complex (PCCVC), which caused an extensive ash accumulation in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina. We re‐established 32, 100‐m2 sampling plots of nine pitfall traps, placed every 100 m of altitude from the base to the summit of three mountains differentially affected by ash deposition, and from which we had pre‐eruption data on richness and environmental variables. Coverage‐based rarefaction/extrapolation curves showed a local post‐eruptive decrease in richness on only one mountain. Generalised additive models (GAMs) showed no significant differences between pre‐ and post‐eruptive SRER shapes. Partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS‐SEM) showed that woody vegetation and the thermal environment accounted for most of the variation in richness before and after the eruption. Soil attributes were only indirectly associated with beetle richness and the association was mediated by woody vegetation. Ash accumulation ameliorated the thermal environment, promoting a local increase in beetle richness. The rapid recovery of the SRER shape and its environmental correlates suggest that the structuring of local diversity patterns at temperate latitudes of the southern hemisphere is resilient to major volcanic eruptions. Volcanic eruptions are large‐scale natural disturbances known to influence the structure and function of ecosystems. However, their role in structuring elevation gradients in species richness has been poorly studied. We tested the shape of the species richness – elevation relationship (SRER) and its environmental correlates before and 6 months after a major volcanic eruption in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina. A rapid recovery of the SRER shape and its environmental correlates, suggested that the structuring of local diversity patterns at southern temperate is resilient to major volcanic eruptions.
... As ants are ectothermic with relatively small body sizes, they are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations, particularly surface-active species (Staab et al. 2014;Araújo and Fernandes 2003). This is of particular importance to ants in the Andes, where global warming may require species to move to track narrow elevational distributions (Longino and Colwell 2011;Staab et al. 2014) and where simulations under RCP8.5 predict almost a tripling of ant species richness at higher elevations underpinned by dramatic changes in the abundance distribution of species, such that currently common species become very rare (Bishop et al. 2019). While we are unaware of studies documenting elevational movements in tropical ants as a result of climate change, highlighting a key knowledge gap, the average altitudes of 102 montane moth species in Borneo increased by 67 m between 1965 and 2007, with the 20 endemic species moving uphill by an average of 92 m (Chen et al. 2009). ...
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Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are one of the most dominant terrestrial organisms worldwide. They are hugely abundant, both in terms of sheer numbers and biomass, on every continent except Antarctica and are deeply embedded within a diversity of ecological networks and processes. Ants are also eusocial and colonial organisms-their lifecycle is built on the labor of sterile worker ants who support a small number of reproductive individuals. Given the climatic changes that our planet faces, we need to understand how various important taxonomic groups will respond; this includes the ants. In this review, we synthesize the available literature to tackle this question. The answer is complicated. The ant literature has focused on temperature, and we broadly understand the ways in which thermal changes may affect ant colonies, populations, and communities. In general, we expect that species living in the Tropics, and in thermally variable microhabitats, such as the canopy and leaf litter environments, will be negatively impacted by rising temperatures. Species living in the temperate zones and those able to thermally buffer their nests in the soil or behaviorally avoid higher temperatures, however, are likely to be unaffected or may even benefit from a changed climate. How ants will respond to changes to other abiotic drivers associated with climate change is largely unknown, as is the detail on how altered ant populations and communities will ramify through their wider ecological networks. We discuss how eusociality may allow ants to adapt to, or tolerate, climate change in ways that solitary organisms cannot and we identify key geographic and phylogenetic hotspots of climate vulnerability and resistance. We finish by emphasizing the key research questions that we need to address moving forward so that we may fully appreciate how this critical insect group will respond to the ongoing climate crisis.
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We created a new dataset of spatially interpolated monthly climate data for global land areas at a very high spatial resolution (approximately 1 km 2). We included monthly temperature (minimum, maximum and average), precipitation, solar radiation, vapour pressure and wind speed, aggregated across a target temporal range of 1970–2000, using data from between 9000 and 60 000 weather stations. Weather station data were interpolated using thin-plate splines with covariates including elevation, distance to the coast and three satellite-derived covariates: maximum and minimum land surface temperature as well as cloud cover, obtained with the MODIS satellite platform. Interpolation was done for 23 regions of varying size depending on station density. Satellite data improved prediction accuracy for temperature variables 5–15% (0.07–0.17 ∘ C), particularly for areas with a low station density, although prediction error remained high in such regions for all climate variables. Contributions of satellite covariates were mostly negligible for the other variables, although their importance varied by region. In contrast to the common approach to use a single model formulation for the entire world, we constructed the final product by selecting the best performing model for each region and variable. Global cross-validation correlations were ≥ 0.99 for temperature and humidity, 0.86 for precipitation and 0.76 for wind speed. The fact that most of our climate surface estimates were only marginally improved by use of satellite covariates highlights the importance having a dense, high-quality network of climate station data.
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Distributions of Earth’s species are changing at accelerating rates, increasingly driven by human-mediated climate change. Such changes are already altering the composition of ecological communities, but beyond conservation of natural systems, how and why does this matter? We review evidence that climate-driven species redistribution at regional to global scales affects ecosystem functioning, human well-being, and the dynamics of climate change itself. Production of natural resources required for food security, patterns of disease transmission, and processes of carbon sequestration are all altered by changes in species distribution. Consideration of these effects of biodiversity redistribution is critical yet lacking in most mitigation and adaptation strategies, including the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
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Climate change, land-use change, pollution and exploitation are among the main drivers of species’ population trends; however, their relative importance is much debated. We used a unique collection of over 1,000 local population time series in 22 communities across terrestrial, freshwater and marine realms within central Europe to compare the impacts of long-term temperature change and other environmental drivers from 1980 onwards. To disentangle different drivers, we related species’ population trends to species- and driver-specific attributes, such as temperature and habitat preference or pollution tolerance. We found a consistent impact of temperature change on the local abundances of terrestrial species. Populations of warm-dwelling species increased more than those of cold-dwelling species. In contrast, impacts of temperature change on aquatic species’ abundances were variable. Effects of temperature preference were more consistent in terrestrial communities than effects of habitat preference, suggesting that the impacts of temperature change have become widespread for recent changes in abundance within many terrestrial communities of central Europe.
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Small cursorial ectotherms risk overheating when foraging in the tropical forest canopy, where the surfaces of unshaded tree branches commonly exceed 50 °C. We quantified the heating and subsequent cooling rates of 11 common canopy ant species from Panama and tested the hypothesis that ant workers stop foraging at temperatures consistent with the prevention of overheating. We created hot experimental “sunflecks” on existing foraging trails of four ant species from different clades and spanning a broad range of body size, heating rate, and critical thermal maxima (CTmax). Different ant species exhibited very different heating rates in the lab, and these differences did not follow trends predicted by body size alone. Experiments with ant models showed that heating rates are strongly affected by color in addition to body size. Foraging workers of all species showed strong responses to heating and consistently abandoned focal sites between 36 and 44 °C. Atta colombica and Azteca trigona workers resumed foraging shortly after heat was removed, but Cephalotes atratus and Dolichoderus bispinosus workers continued to avoid the heated patch even after >5 min of cooling. Large foraging ants (C. atratus) responded slowly to developing thermal extremes, whereas small ants (A. trigona) evacuated sunflecks relatively quickly, and at lower estimated body temperatures than when revisiting previously heated patches. The results of this study provide the first field-based insight into how foraging ants respond behaviorally to the heterogeneous thermal landscape of the tropical forest canopy.
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In ectotherms, the colour of an individual's cuticle may have important thermoregulatory and protective consequences. In cool environments, ectotherms should be darker, to maximize heat gain, and larger, to minimize heat loss. Dark colours should also predominate under high UV-B conditions because melanin offers protection. We test these predictions in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) across space and through time based on a new, spatially and temporally explicit, global-scale combination of assemblage-level and environmental data.
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Dung beetles mediate a variety of important ecosystem services in both natural and human-modified habitats. These services are associated with the exploitation of dung by beetles for breeding and feeding, with different functional groups using dung in different ways. While many studies have considered how individual ecosystem functions and services (primarily dung removal and seed dispersal) are affected by changes in dung beetle diversity, fewer studies have considered the consequences for multiple functions and services. We used manipulative experiments to evaluate the functional efficiency of three species of dung beetles, each representing one of the three functional groups present in temperate Europe. Standardising beetle biomass, we compared single-species treatments to a three-species mixture containing each of the species in equal biomass. We then measured three ecosystem services relevant in supporting pasture-based livestock production systems: dung removal, soil fauna activity, and soil aeration. The presence of dung beetles significantly elevated all three ecosystem services. However, delivery of each service peaked under different treatments, indicating that no single-species assemblage can provide maximum functioning across multiple services. For all three services, the three-species polyculture provided a level of functioning indistinguishable from the most efficient single-species treatment. Our results highlight the importance of considering multiple functions and services when assessing the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and suggest that the conservation of functional richness within dung beetle communities could play an important role in securing the delivery of multiple ecosystem services.
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Virtually all empirical ecological interaction networks to some extent suffer from undersampling. However, how limitations imposed by sampling incompleteness affect our understanding of ecological networks is still poorly explored, which may hinder further advances in the field. Here, we use a plant-hummingbird network with unprecedented sampling effort (2,716 hours of focal observations) from the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil, to investigate how sampling effort affects the description of network structure (i.e. widely used network metrics) and the relative importance of distinct processes (i.e. species abundances vs traits) in determining the frequency of pairwise interactions. By dividing the network into time slices representing a gradient of sampling effort, we show that quantitative metrics, such as interaction evenness, specialization (H2 '), weighted nestedness (wNODF) and modularity (Q; QuanBiMo algorithm), were less biased by sampling incompleteness than binary metrics. Furthermore, the significance of some network metrics changed along the sampling effort gradient. Nevertheless, the higher importance of traits in structuring the network was apparent even with small sampling effort. Our results (i) warn against using very poorly sampled networks as this may bias our understanding of networks, both their patterns and structuring processes, (ii) encourage the use of quantitative metrics little influenced by sampling when performing spatio-temporal comparisons, and (iii) indicate that in networks strongly constrained by species traits, such as plant-hummingbird networks, even small sampling is sufficient to detect their relative importance for the structure of interactions. Finally, we argue that similar effects of sampling are expected for other highly specialized subnetworks. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Invertebrates are dominant species in primary tropical rainforests, where their abundance and diversity contributes to the functioning and resilience of these globally important ecosystems. However, more than one-third of tropical forests have been logged, with dramatic impacts on rainforest biodiversity that may disrupt key ecosystem processes. We find that the contribution of invertebrates to three ecosystem processes operating at three trophic levels (litter decomposition, seed predation and removal, and invertebrate predation) is reduced by up to one-half following logging. These changes are associated with decreased abundance of key functional groups of termites, ants, beetles and earthworms, and an increase in the abundance of small mammals, amphibians and insectivorous birds in logged relative to primary forest. Our results suggest that ecosystem processes themselves have considerable resilience to logging, but the consistent decline of invertebrate functional importance is indicative of a human-induced shift in how these ecological processes operate in tropical rainforests.
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The local spatial congruence between climate changes and community changes has rarely been studied over large areas. We proposed one of the first comprehensive frameworks tracking local changes in community composition related to climate changes. First, we investigated whether and how 12 years of changes in the local composition of bird communities were related to local climate variations. Then, we tested the consequences of this climate-induced adjustment of communities on Grinnellian (habitat-related) and Eltonian (function-related) homogenization. A standardized protocol monitoring spatial and temporal trends of birds over France from 2001 to 2012 was used. For each plot and each year, we used the spring temperature, the spring precipitations and calculated three indices reflecting the thermal niche, the habitat specialization, and the functional originality of the species within a community. We then used a moving window approach to estimate the spatial distribution of the temporal trends in each of these indices and their congruency with local climatic variations. Temperature fluctuations and community dynamics were found to be highly variable in space but their variations were finely congruent. More interestingly, the community adjustment to temperature variations was non-monotonous. Instead, unexplained fluctuations in community composition were observed up to a certain threshold of climate change intensity, above which a change in community composition was observed. This shift corresponded to a significant decrease in the relative abundance of habitat specialists and functionally original species within communities, regardless of the direction of temperature change. The investigation of variations in climate and community responses appears to be a central step towards a better understanding of climate change effects on biodiversity. Our results suggest a fine scale and short-term adjustment of community composition to temperature changes. Moreover, significant temperature variations seem to be responsible for both the Grinnellian and Eltonian aspects of functional homogenization. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Predicting ecosystem responses to global change is a major challenge in ecology. A critical step in that challenge is to understand how changing environmental conditions influence processes across levels of ecological organization. While direct scaling from individual to ecosystem dynamics can lead to robust and mechanistic predictions, new approaches are needed to appropriately translate questions through the community level. Species invasion, loss, and turnover all necessitate this scaling through community processes, but predicting how such changes may influence ecosystem function is notoriously difficult. We suggest that community-level dynamics can be incorporated into scaling predictions using a trait-based response–effect framework that differentiates the community response to environmental change (predicted by response traits) and the effect of that change on ecosystem processes (predicted by effect traits). We develop a response-and-effect functional framework, concentrating on how the relationships among species' response, effect, and abundance can lead to general predictions concerning the magnitude and direction of the influence of environmental change on function. We then detail several key research directions needed to better scale the effects of environmental change through the community level. These include (1) effect and response trait characterization, (2) linkages between response-and-effect traits, (3) the importance of species interactions on trait expression, and (4) incorporation of feedbacks across multiple temporal scales. Increasing rates of extinction and invasion that are modifying communities worldwide make such a research agenda imperative.
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Maximum likelihood or restricted maximum likelihood (REML) estimates of the parameters in linear mixed-effects models can be determined using the lmer function in the lme4 package for R. As for most model-fitting functions in R, the model is described in an lmer call by a formula, in this case including both fixed- and random-effects terms. The formula and data together determine a numerical representation of the model from which the profiled deviance or the profiled REML criterion can be evaluated as a function of some of the model parameters. The appropriate criterion is optimized, using one of the constrained optimization functions in R, to provide the parameter estimates. We describe the structure of the model, the steps in evaluating the profiled deviance or REML criterion, and the structure of classes or types that represents such a model. Sufficient detail is included to allow specialization of these structures by users who wish to write functions to fit specialized linear mixed models, such as models incorporating pedigrees or smoothing splines, that are not easily expressible in the formula language used by lmer.
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Associations between biological traits of animals and climate are well documented by physiological and local-scale studies. However, whether an ecophysiological phenomenon can affect large-scale biogeographical patterns of insects is largely unknown. Insects absorb energy from the sun to become mobile, and their colouration varies depending on the prevailing climate where they live. Here we show, using data of 473 European butterfly and dragonfly species, that dark-coloured insect species are favoured in cooler climates and light-coloured species in warmer climates. By comparing distribution maps of dragonflies from 1988 and 2006, we provide support for a mechanistic link between climate, functional traits and species that affects geographical distributions even at continental scales. Our results constitute a foundation for better forecasting the effect of climate change on many insect groups.
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It is time to acknowledge that global average temperatures are likely to rise above the 2 °C policy target and consider how that deeply troubling prospect should affect priorities for communicating and managing the risks of a dangerously warming climate.
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The dynamic nature and diversity of species’ responses to climate change poses significant difficulties for developing robust, long-term conservation strategies. One key question is whether existing protected area networks will remain effective in a changing climate. To test this, we developed statistical models that link climate to the abundance of internationally important bird populations in northwestern Europe. Spatial climate–abundance models were able to predict 56% of the variation in recent 30-year population trends. Using these models, future climate change resulting in 4.0ºC global warming was projected to cause declines of at least 25% for more than half of the internationally important populations considered. Nonetheless, most EU Special Protection Areas in the UK were projected to retain species in sufficient abundances to maintain their legal status, and generally sites that are important now were projected to be important in the future. The biological and legal resilience of this network of protected areas is derived from the capacity for turnover in the important species at each site as species’ distributions and abundances alter in response to climate. Current protected areas are therefore predicted to remain important for future conservation in a changing climate.
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Mountains are biodiversity hotspots and provide spatially compressed versions of regional and continental variation. They might be the most cost effective way to measure the environmental associations of regional biotic communities and their response to global climate change. We investigated spatial variation in epigeal ant diversity along a north–south elevational transect over the Soutpansberg Mountain in South Africa, to see to what extent these patterns can be related to spatial (regional) and environmental (local) variables and how restricted taxa are to altitudinal zones and vegetation types. A total of 40,294 ants, comprising 78 species were caught. Ant richness peaked at the lowest elevation of the southern aspect but had a hump-shaped pattern along the northern slope. Species richness, abundance and assemblage structure were associated with temperature and the proportion of bare ground. Local environment and spatially structured environmental variables comprised more than two-thirds of the variation explained in species richness, abundance and assemblage structure, while space alone (regional processes) was responsible for <10%. Species on the northern aspect were more specific to particular vegetation types, whereas the southern aspect’s species were more generalist. Lower elevation species’ distributions were more restricted. The significance of temperature as an explanatory variable of ant diversity across the mountain could provide a predictive surrogate for future changes. The effect of CO2-induced bush encroachment on the southern aspect could have indirect impacts complicating prediction, but ant species on the northern aspect should move uphill at a rate proportional to their thermal tolerance and the regional increases in temperature. Two species are identified that might be at risk of local extinction.
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Past meta-analyses of the response of marine organisms to climate change have examined a limited range of locations, taxonomic groups and/or biological responses. This has precluded a robust overview of the effect of climate change in the global ocean. Here, we synthesized all available studies of the consistency of marine ecological observations with expectations under climate change. This yielded a meta-database of 1,735 marine biological responses for which either regional or global climate change was considered as a driver. Included were instances of marine taxa responding as expected, in a manner inconsistent with expectations, and taxa demonstrating no response. From this database, 81-83% of all observations for distribution, phenology, community composition, abundance, demography and calcification across taxa and ocean basins were consistent with the expected impacts of climate change. Of the species responding to climate change, rates of distribution shifts were, on average, consistent with those required to track ocean surface temperature changes. Conversely, we did not find a relationship between regional shifts in spring phenology and the seasonality of temperature. Rates of observed shifts in species' distributions and phenology are comparable to, or greater, than those for terrestrial systems.
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The challenge Understanding how biotic interactions affect species’ geographical ranges, biodiversity patterns and ecological responses to environmental change is one of the most pressing challenges in macroecology. Extensive efforts are underway to detect signals of biotic interactions in macroecological data. However, efforts are limited by bias in the taxa and spatial scale for which occurrence data are available and by difficulty in ascribing causality to co‐occurrence patterns. Moreover, we are not necessarily looking in the right places; analyses are largely ad hoc, depending on availability of data, rather than focusing on regions, taxa, ecosystems or interaction types where biotic interactions might affect species’ geographical ranges most strongly. Unpicking biotic interactions We suggest that macroecology would benefit from the recognition that abiotic conditions alter two key components of biotic interaction strength: frequency and intensity. We outline how and why variation in biotic interaction strength occurs, explore the implications for species’ geographical ranges and discuss the challenges inherent in quantifying these effects. In addition, we explore the role of behavioural flexibility in mediating biotic interactions potentially to mitigate impacts of environmental change. New data We argue that macroecology should take advantage of “independent” data on the strength of biotic interactions measured by other disciplines, in order to capture a far wider array of taxa, locations and interaction types than are typically studied in macroecology. Data on biotic interactions are readily available from community, disease, microbial and parasite ecology, evolution, palaeontology, invasion biology and agriculture, but most are yet to be exploited within macroecology. Integrating biotic interaction strength data into macroecology Harmonization of data across interdisciplinary sources, taxa and interaction types could be achieved by breaking down interactions into elements that contribute to frequency and intensity. This would allow quantitative biotic interaction data to be incorporated directly into models of species distributions and macroecological patterns.
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Pigmentation is a fundamental characteristic of living organisms that is used to absorb radiation energy and to regulate temperature. Since darker pigments absorb more radiation than lighter ones, they stream more heat, which can provide an adaptive advantage at higher latitudes and a disadvantage near the Tropics, because of the risk of overheating. This intuitive process of color-mediated thermoregulation, also known as the theory of thermal melanism (TTM), has been only tested in ectothermic animal models [1–8]. Here, we report an association between yeast pigmentation and their latitude of isolation, with dark-pigmented isolates being more frequent away from the Tropics. To measure the impact of microbial pigmentation in energy capture from radiation, we generated 20 pigmented variants of Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida spp. Infrared thermography revealed that dark-pigmented yeasts heated up faster and reached higher temperatures (up to 2-fold) than lighter ones following irradiation. Melanin-pigmented C. neoformans exhibited a growth advantage relative to non-melanized yeasts when incubated under the light at 4 C but increased thermal susceptibility at 25 C ambient temperatures. Our results extend the TTM to microbiology and suggest pigmentation as an ancient adaptation mechanism for gaining thermal energy from radiation. The contribution of microbial pigmentation in heat absorption is relevant to microbial ecology and for estimating global temperatures. The color variations available in yeasts provide new opportunities in chromatology to quantify radiative heat transfer and validate biophysical models of heat flow [9] that are not possible with plants or animals.
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Global extinction drivers, including habitat disturbance and climate change, are thought to affect larger species more than smaller species. However, it is unclear if such drivers interact to affect assemblage body size distributions. We asked how these two key global change drivers differentially affect the interspecific size distributions of ants, one of the most abundant and ubiquitous animal groups on earth. We also asked whether there is evidence of synergistic interactions and whether effects are related to species’ trophic roles. We generated a global dataset on ant body size from 333 local ant assemblages collected by the authors across a broad range of climates and in disturbed and undisturbed habitats. We used head length (range: 0.22 – 4.55 mm) as a surrogate of body size and classified species to trophic groups. We used generalized linear models to test whether body size distributions changed with climate and disturbance, independent of species richness. Our analysis yielded three key results: 1) climate and disturbance showed independent associations with body size; 2) assemblages included more small species in warmer climates and fewer large species in wet climates; and 3) both the largest and smallest species were absent from disturbed ecosystems, with predators most affected in both cases. Our results indicate that temperature, precipitation and disturbance have differing effects on the body size distributions of local communities, with no evidence of synergistic interactions. Further, both large and small predators may be vulnerable to global change, particularly through habitat disturbance.
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Under climate change, it is likely that as species reshuffle based on their environmental tolerances, novel assemblages will form and some current assemblages will disappear. It is important for future monitoring and conservation that we understand where these novel and disappearing assemblages occur and how they differ among dimensions (taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional) of diversity. Here we investigate the geographical and environmental patterns of novel and disappearing assemblages; whether these patterns hold across dimensions of diversity; and how these assemblages are characterized in trait space. Ecuador. We used ensemble species distribution modelling to estimate the distributions of 151 hummingbird species into the projected climate for 2070. Using standard beta diversity measures, we identified novel and disappearing taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional assemblages. We found that novel and disappearing hummingbird assemblages are likely under climate change, particularly in extreme environments and with novel assemblages replacing disappearing assemblages. Although the patterns of novel and disappearing assemblages were similar among dimensions of diversity, we found that there were fewest novel and disappearing functional assemblages. The future assemblages were characterized by an increase in functional space, which is counter to typical predictions of trait homogenization under climate change. Novel and disappearing assemblages are likely to pose management challenges for future conservation. Here we present an approach to identify such assemblages. By considering the geographic and environmental context of novel and disappearing assemblages for different dimensions of diversity, we can start to identify the mechanisms behind these patterns.
Article
Gloger's rule is usually interpreted as predicting darker coloured animals in warmer and more humid/vegetated regions. The relative importance of temperature and rainfall or vegetation is however unclear, and often only one variable is tested at a time, mainly through proxies. Here, I assess the predictions of Gloger's rule for interspecific achromatic plumage variation (dark to light variation) for an entire avifauna (551 species of Australian landbirds). I tested the effects of climatic variables (temperature and rainfall) and vegetation structure on plumage reflectance at species and assemblage level (100x100 km cells), controlling for phylogenetic relatedness and spatial autocorrelation. To assess the robustness of these results I compared observed results with those of a null distribution of effects obtained from repeatedly simulating random plumage reflectance evolution on the phylogeny. At both the species and assemblage level, darker coloured birds were found in wetter and colder regions and in more densely vegetated habitats. Simulations confirm results at the species level and the effect of temperature at the assemblage level, but rainfall and vegetation effects at the assemblage level fall within the distribution of simulated effects and should be interpreted with care. Interspecific colour variation in Australian birds supports Gloger's rule for rainfall/vegetation, but shows the opposite pattern for temperature. Darker colours in wet and vegetated environments are consistent with the role of melanin pigmentation in preventing feather degradation by bacteria, but also with background-matching for camouflage. Darker plumage might be beneficial in colder regions or detrimental in warmer regions if it affects thermoregulation, a selective force often only assumed to be of importance for ectotherms. The data highlight the need to test the generality of biogeographic rules across levels and at broad scale. Experimental work is needed to confirm the mechanisms linking plumage achromatic variation to climate. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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There is a long tradition of community ecologists using interspecific dominance hierarchies as a way to explain species coexistence and community structure. However, there is considerable variation in the methods used to construct these hierarchies, how they are quantified, and how they are interpreted. In the study of ant communities, hierarchies are typically based on the outcome of aggressive encounters between species or on bait monopolization. These parameters are converted to rankings using a variety of methods ranging from calculating the proportion of fights won or baits monopolized to minimizing hierarchical reversals. However, we rarely stop to explore how dominance hierarchies relate to the spatial and temporal structure of ant communities, nor do we ask how different ranking methods quantitatively relate to one another. Here, through a review of the literature and new analyses of both published and unpublished data, we highlight some limitations of the use of dominance hierarchies, both in how they are constructed and how they are interpreted. We show that the most commonly used ranking methods can generate variation among hierarchies given the same data and that the results depend on sample size. Moreover, these ranks are not related to resource acquisition, suggesting limited ecological implications for dominance hierarchies. These limitations in the construction, analysis, and interpretation of dominance hierarchies lead us to suggest it may be time for ant ecologists to move on from dominance hierarchies.
Article
Species attributes are often used to explain diversity patterns across assemblages/communities. However, repeated species co-occurrences can generate spatial pattern and strong statistical relationships between aggregated attributes and richness in the absence of biological information. Our aim is to increase awareness of this problem. North America. We generated empirical species richness patterns using two data structures: (1) birds gridded from range maps and (2) tree communities from the US Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis. We analysed richness using linear regression, regression trees, generalized additive models, geographically weighted regression and simultaneous autoregression, with ‘random intrinsic variables’ as predictors generated by assigning random numbers to species and calculating averages in assemblages. We then generated simulations in which species with cohesive or patchy distributions are placed with respect to the North American temperature gradient with or without a broad-scale richness gradient. Random intrinsic variables are again used as predictors of richness. Finally, we analysed one simulated scenario with random intrinsic variables as both response and predictor variables. The models of bird and tree richness often explained moderate to large proportions of the variance. Regression trees, geographically weighted regression and simultaneous autoregression were very sensitive to the problem; generalized additive models were moderately affected, as was multiple regression to a lesser extent. In the virtual data, the variance explained increased with increasing species co-occurrences, but neither range cohesion, a richness gradient nor spatial autocorrelation in predictors had major impacts on the variance explained. The problem persisted when the response variable was also a random intrinsic variable. Repeated species co-occurrences can generate strong spurious relationships between richness and aggregated species attributes. It is important to realize that models utilizing assemblage variables aggregated from species-level values, as well as maps illustrating their spatial patterns, cannot be taken at face value.
Article
New biological models are incorporating the realistic processes underlying biological responses to climate change and other human-caused disturbances. However, these more realistic models require detailed information, which is lacking for most species on Earth. Current monitoring efforts mainly document changes in biodiversity, rather than collecting the mechanistic data needed to predict future changes. We describe and prioritize the biological information needed to inform more realistic projections of species’ responses to climate change. We also highlight how trait-based approaches and adaptive modeling can leverage sparse data to make broader predictions. We outline a global effort to collect the data necessary to better understand, anticipate, and reduce the damaging effects of climate change on biodiversity.
Article
Dark-coloured ectotherms absorb energy from the environment at higher rates than light-coloured ectotherms. The thermal melanism hypothesis (TMH) states that this physical mechanism links the colour lightness of the body surfaces of ectotherms to their thermal environment and hence to their geographical distribution. Studies on different insect taxa in Europe found support for this prediction of the TMH. However, whether these results hold also for other biogeographical regions remains unclear. Here, we quantify and map the colour lightness of dragonfly species in North America and directly compare our results to previously published findings for Europe. We estimated the colour lightness of 152 North American dragonfly species from published illustrations, compiled their distribution data from the literature and combined all these data with six biologically relevant environmental variables. We evaluated the importance of phylogenetic autocorrelation for the spatial variation of mean colour lightness of dragonfly assemblages (grid cells of approximately 50 km × 50 km size) by repeating all analyses also for the phylogenetically predicted component of the colour lightness of species and the species-specific deviation from this prediction. We also accounted for spatial autocorrelation with autoregressive error models. All statistical approaches showed that dragonfly assemblages from both continents consistently tended to be darker coloured in regions with cold climates and lighter coloured in regions with warm climates. Regression slopes, however, were significantly less steep, and the amount of variance explained by environmental variables was lower for North America than for Europe. Our results highlight the importance of colour lightness for the distribution of dragonfly species, but they also indicate that idiosyncrasies of the continents modify the general pattern. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
In almost every ecosystem, ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are the dominant terrestrial invertebrate group. Their functional value was highlighted by Wilson (1987) who famously declared that invertebrates are the “little things that run the world.” However, while it is generally accepted that ants fulfil important functions, few studies have tested these assumptions and demonstrated what happens in their absence. We report on a novel large-scale field experiment in undisturbed savanna habitat where we examined how ants influence the abundance of other invertebrate taxa in the system, and affect the key processes of decomposition and herbivory. Our experiment demonstrated that ants suppressed the abundance and activity of beetles, millipedes, and termites, and also influenced decomposition rates and levels of herbivory. Our study is the first to show that top-down control of termites by ants can have important ecosystem consequences. Further studies are needed to elucidate the effects ant communities have on other aspects of the ecosystem (e.g., soils, nutrient cycling, the microbial community) and how their relative importance for ecosystem function varies among ecosystem types (e.g., savanna vs. forest).
Article
Climate change is known to drive both the reshuffling of whole assemblages and range shifts of individual species. Less is known about how local colonizations and extinctions of individual species contribute to changes at the community level. Our aim was to estimate the contribution of individual species to a change in community composition attributed to climate change and to relate these species-specific contributions to species’ commonness, climatic niche characteristics and life history traits most likely to influence species sensitivity to climate change. Sweden. Focussing on birds, we analysed changes from 1998 to 2012 in the Community Temperature Index (CTI), a measure of the average climatic niche of a community. Using a jackknife approach we assessed the contribution of individual species to the temporal trend in CTI in four different regions across Sweden, controlling for habitat distribution. We further tested whether species contribution was related to population trends and rarity to identify species most vulnerable to climate change. Community Temperature Index had increased over time with the greatest gains occurring in the north of the country, reflecting the larger temperature increases in this area. Changes in the regional CTI were driven both by warm-dwelling species colonizing new sites and by extirpations of cold-dwelling species. Furthermore, the community changes were influenced by both rare and common species. At the same time, the distribution changes of a large number of species were seemingly unaffected by climate change. Both range expansion and contractions contributed to the relative increase of warm-dwelling species in Swedish bird communities. We successfully identified the climatic impacts on some of Sweden's rarest species, including cold-dwelling species in the mountainous north. Our approach may be an efficient tool to use when characterizing the impacts of climate change on species and communities.
Article
A fundamental goal of ecological research is to understand and model how processes generate patterns so that if conditions change, changes in the patterns can be predicted. Different approaches have been proposed for modelling species assemblage, but their use to predict spatial patterns of species richness and other community attributes over a range of spatial and temporal scales remains challenging. Different methods emphasize different processes of structuring communities and different goals. In this review, we focus on models that were developed for generating spatially explicit predictions of communities, with a particular focus on species richness, composition, relative abundance and related attributes. We first briefly describe the concepts and theories that span the different drivers of species assembly. A combination of abiotic processes and biotic mechanisms are thought to influence the community assembly process. In this review, we describe four categories of drivers: (i) historical and evolutionary, (ii) environmental, (iii) biotic, and (iv) stochastic. We discuss the different modelling approaches proposed or applied at the community level and examine them from different standpoints, i.e. the theoretical bases, the drivers included, the source data, and the expected outputs, with special emphasis on conservation needs under climate change. We also highlight the most promising novelties, possible shortcomings, and potential extensions of existing methods. Finally, we present new approaches to model and predict species assemblages by reviewing promising 'integrative frameworks' and views that seek to incorporate all drivers of community assembly into a unique modelling workflow. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these new solutions and how they may hasten progress in community-level modelling.
Article
Body colouration is of high evolutionary relevance for most animals. Several competing hypotheses exist regarding the evolutionary reasons for animal colouration ranging from predator avoidance and sexual advertisement to neutral selection. Among these hypotheses, biophysical principles suggest the thermoregulatory importance of dark colouration which in turn strongly depends on species body size. This body size – darkness trade-off is based on sound theoretical background conceptualized in the thermal melanism hypothesis and is confirmed by numerous case studies for individual species. However, evidence for the general relevance of this trade-off on large spatial and taxonomic scale is still missing. Here we specifically focus on this body size – colouration trade-off for a hyper-diverse and cosmopolitan group of insects, namely ground beetles. We combined colour information with trait data and distributional as well as bioclimatic attributes for more than 1,000 carabid species from the entire Western Palearctic. We quantified species-specific body colouration from high-quality, standardised digital photographs using the Munsell colour system. We detect a strong increase of colour darkness with body size from small to medium-sized carabids up to a body size threshold of 15 mm which is consistent with the thermal melanism hypothesis. However, body size showed no effect above this threshold and colour darkness remained constantly high which is in accordance with previous ideas about the size-dependency of thermoregulative control mechanisms (size dependence hypothesis). By demonstrating a strong tendency towards darkness with increasing body size, we illustrate the inter-specific relevance of body colouration for this cosmopolitan group of ectotherms on a continental scale. The putative thermoregulative trade-off between body size and melanism seems to be of significant importance for carabids on a broad spatial scale and may be a general but still underestimated phenomenon for ectotherms in general, although other mechanistic drivers cannot be completely neglected.
Article
Current predictions of extinction risks from climate change vary widely depending on the specific assumptions and geographic and taxonomic focus of each study. I synthesized published studies in order to estimate a global mean extinction rate and determine which factors contribute the greatest uncertainty to climate change-induced extinction risks. Results suggest that extinction risks will accelerate with future global temperatures, threatening up to one in six species under current policies. Extinction risks were highest in South America, Australia, and New Zealand, and risks did not vary by taxonomic group. Realistic assumptions about extinction debt and dispersal capacity substantially increased extinction risks. We urgently need to adopt strategies that limit further climate change if we are to avoid an acceleration of global extinctions. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Article
AimsClimatic change is expected to rearrange species assemblages and ultimately affect organism-mediated ecosystem processes. We focus on identifying patterns and relationships between common ant species (representing 99% of total ant records) richness and functional diversity; modelling how these patterns may change at local and regional scales in future climatic conditions; and interpreting how these changes might influence ant-mediated ecosystem processes.LocationForested ecosystems of eastern North America.Methods We used a previously published dataset to evaluate functional diversity at 67 sites in the eastern U.S. and quantified 14 taxonomic, morphometric and natural history traits for 70 common ant species in the region. We used functional diversity metrics, functional groups and species distribution modelling methods to address our aims. We used stacked species distribution models and stacked functional group models to predict species assemblages and functional richness at the 67 sites and at a regional scale for current and future climatic conditions.ResultsSpecies richness and functional diversity are positively correlated throughout the region. Under future climate scenarios, species richness and functional group richness were predicted to decrease in southern ecoregions and increase in northern ecoregions. This may be due to increased thermal stress for species in the southern extent of their ranges and increased habitat suitability in the northern ecoregions. Decomposers, arthropod community regulators and seed dispersers are forecast to be the most threatened ant functional groups.Main Conclusions Climate change will likely lead to major changes in ant species richness and functional group richness in the forests of the north-eastern United States, and this may substantially alter ant-mediated ecosystem processes and services.
Article
Dominant species influence the composition and abundance of other species present in ecosystems. However, forecasts of distributional change under future climates have predominantly focused on changes in species distribution and ignored possible changes in spatial and temporal patterns of dominance. We develop forecasts of spatial changes for the distribution of species dominance, defined in terms of basal area, and for species occurrence, in response to sea level rise for three tree taxa within an extensive mangrove ecosystem in northern Australia. Three new metrics are provided, indicating the area expected to be suitable under future conditions (Eoccupied ), the instability of suitable area (Einstability ) and the overlap between the current and future spatial distribution (Eoverlap ).The current dominance and occurrence were modeled in relation to a set of environmental variables using Boosted Regression Tree (BRT) models, under two scenarios of seedling establishment; unrestricted and highly restricted. While forecasts of spatial change were qualitatively similar for species occurrence and dominance, the models of species dominance exhibited higher metrics of model fit and predictive performance, and the spatial pattern of future dominance was less similar to the current pattern than was the case for the distributions of species occurrence. This highlights the possibility of greater changes in the spatial patterning of mangrove tree species dominance under future sea level rise. Under the restricted seedling establishment scenario, the area occupied by or dominated by a species declined between 42.1 and 93.8%, while for unrestricted seedling establishment, the area suitable for dominance or occurrence of each species varied from a decline of 68.4% to an expansion of 99.5%. As changes in the spatial patterning of dominance are likely to cause a cascade of effects throughout the ecosystem, forecasting spatial changes in dominance provides new and complementary information in addition to that provided by forecasts of species occurrence. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Ecogeographic rules explain spatial trends in biodiversity, species interactions, and phenotypes. Gloger’s rule and its corollaries state that pigmentation of endothermic animals will increase from more polar to equatorial regions due to changing selective pressures including heat, humidity, predation, and ultraviolet (UV) irradiance. In plants, floral pigmentation varies within and among taxa, yet causes of wide-scale geographic variation are lacking. We show that Gloger’s rule explains patterns of variation in UV-absorbing floral pigmentation in a widespread plant, Argentina anserina (Rosaceae). Specifically, floral pigmentation pattern unique to the UV spectrum (UV ‘bullseye’; Fig. 1a), increases with proximity to the Equator in both hemispheres, and larger bullseyes are associated with higher UV-B incidence (Fig. 1b,c). Experiments confirm UV as an agent of selection and bullseye size as a target. Results extend the generality of an ecogeographic rule—formulated for animals—to plants, implicating UV as a selective agent on a floral trait generally assumed to enhance plant-pollinator interactions. Global change is expected to alter UV irradiance in terrestrial systems, potentially intensifying the importance of UV-mediated selection to floral evolution. Because floral UV reflectance and pattern enhance pollinator attraction, altered selective regimes could disrupt co-evolved plant-pollinator interactions, weakening an important ecosystem service.
Article
1.Macroecology has prospered in recent years due in part to the wide array of climatic data, such as those provided by the WorldClim and CliMond data sets, which has become available for research. However, important environmental variables have still been missing, including spatial data sets on UV-B radiation, an increasingly recognized driver of ecological processes. 2.We developed a set of global UV-B surfaces (glUV) suitable to match common spatial scales in macroecology. Our data set is based on remotely sensed records from NASA's Ozone Monitoring Instrument (Aura-OMI). Following a similar approach as for the WorldClim and CliMond data sets, we processed daily UV-B measurements acquired over a period of eight years into monthly mean UV-B data and six ecologically meaningful UV-B variables with a 15-arc minute resolution. These bioclimatic variables represent Annual Mean UV-B, UV-B Seasonality, Mean UV-B of Highest Month, Mean UV-B of Lowest Month, Sum of Monthly Mean UV-B during Highest Quarter and Sum of Monthly Mean UV-B during Lowest Quarter. We correlated our data sets with selected variables of existing bioclimatic surfaces for land and with Terra–MODIS Sea Surface Temperature for ocean regions to test for relations to known gradients and patterns. 3.UV-B surfaces showed a distinct seasonal variance at a global scale, while the intensity of UV-B radiation decreased towards higher latitudes and was modified by topographic and climatic heterogeneity. UV-B surfaces were correlated with global mean temperature and annual mean radiation data, but exhibited variable spatial associations across the globe. UV-B surfaces were otherwise widely independent of existing bioclimatic surfaces. 4.Our data set provides new climatological information relevant for macroecological analyses. As UV-B is a known driver of numerous biological patterns and processes, our data set offers the potential to generate a better understanding of these dynamics in macroecology, biogeography, global change research and beyond. The glUV data set containing monthly mean UV-B data and six derived UV-B surfaces is freely available for download at: http://www.ufz.de/gluv.
Article
Climate warming leads to a decrease in biodiversity. Organisms can deal with the new prevailing environmental conditions by one of two main routes, namely evolving new genetic adaptations or through phenotypic plasticity in order to modify behaviour and physiology. Melanin-based coloration has important functions in animals including a role in camouflage and thermoregulation, protection against UV-radiation and pathogens and, furthermore, genes involved in melanogenesis can pleiotropically regulate behaviour and physiology. In this paper, I review the current evidence that differently coloured individuals are differentially sensitive to climate change. Predicting which of dark or pale colour variants (or morphs) will be more penalized by climate change will depend on the adaptive function of melanism in each species as well as how the degree of coloration covaries with behaviour and physiology. For instance, because climate change leads to a rise in temperature and UV-radiation and dark coloration plays a role in UV-protection, dark individuals may be less affected from global warming if this phenomenon implies more solar radiation particularly in habitats of pale individuals. In contrast, as desertification increases, pale coloration may expand in those regions, whereas dark colorations may expand in regions where humidity is predicted to increase. Dark coloration may be also indirectly selected by climate warming because genes involved in the production of melanin pigments confer resistance to a number of stressful factors including those associated with climate warming. Furthermore, darker melanic individuals are commonly more aggressive than paler conspecifics, and hence they may better cope with competitive interactions due to invading species that expand their range in northern latitudes and at higher altitudes. To conclude, melanin may be a major component involved in adaptation to climate warming, and hence in animal populations melanin-based coloration is likely to change as an evolutionary or plastic response to climate warming. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Undisturbed ant faunas of islands in the Moluccas-Melanesian arc are for the most part "saturated," that is, approach a size that is correlated closely with the landmass of the island but only weakly with its geographic location (figure 1). In the Ponerinae and Cerapachyinae combined the saturation level can be expressed approximately as F=3A0.6, where F is the number of species in the fauna and A the area of the island in square miles. Interspecific competition, involving some degree of colonial warfare, plays a major role in the determination of the saturation curve. It deploys the distribution of some ant species into mosaic patterns and increases the diversification of local faunas. Perhaps because of the complex nature of the Melanesian fauna, differences between local faunas appear that give the subjective impression of randomness. Despite the action of species exclusion, the size of local faunas occurring within a set sample area increases with the total size of the island (figure 2). Water gaps br...