Implications of climate change for the distribution of terrestrial vertebrates in Tasmania

Nicholas Beeton (1), Jeremy VanDerWal (2) , Rebecca Harris (3), Chris Johnson (1)

(1) School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart TAS 7001, nick.beeton@utas.edu.au, @nicktheinsane
(2) Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811, jeremy.vanderwal@jcu.edu.au
(3) Antarctic Climate Ecosystems CRC, 20 Castray Esplanade, Battery Point TAS 7004, R.M.B.Harris@utas.edu.au

Climate niche modelling using long-term means for climate data represents only part of the story of climate control of the potential range of species. Future weather as affected by climate change will not only be hotter but also more variable, which these models cannot take into account. We developed distribution models for Tasmanian terrestrial vertebrates using monthly values for climate variables, therefore representing the effects of weather. This allowed us to identify dominant trends in the changes in distributions in this assemblage, over both the past sixty years and the next hundred years. Overall, we found a high level of potential species loss, particularly in the central lowlands of Tasmania, and we identify potential future refuges in the forested north-east and south-west.

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