Integrating Physiology, ecology and biogeography to better understand species responses to climate change

Christian  Hof (1),    Joel    Methorst (2),    Imran    Khaliq (3)

1    Senckenberg    Biodiversity    &    Climate    Research    Centre    (BiK-­‐F),    Senckenberganlage    25,    60325    Frankfurt,    Germany,,    @redkite79

2  Senckenberg    Biodiversity    &    Climate    Research    Centre    (BiK-­‐F),    Frankfurt,    Germany,

3  Senckenberg    Biodiversity    &    Climate    Research    Centre    (BiK-­‐F),    Frankfurt,    Germany    and    Government    degree    college    Vehova,    Punjab,    Pakistan,

Species   react   to   climate     change     via     physiological   tolerance     or   adaptation,   dispersal   (e.g.   range     shifts),   or    they    have    to    face    extinction.    However,    whether    and    how    these    response    pathways    interact    has    rarely    been    investigated.     Here,    we    present    our    analyses    on    (1)    the    relationships    among    species’    thermal    capacities,    geographical         distributions       and       the      variation       of       ambient       climatic       conditions       and       (2)       the      relationships    between     dispersal   ability   and     thermal   tolerance.   We   assembled     data   on     thermal   tolerances   of     birds   and    mammals    from    physiological    experiments    of    more    than    500    species,    as    well    as    empirical    dispersal    distance    data     for   about   90   species   from   all   over   the   world     and     analyzed     them,   along   with     data   on     ambient   climate    and     species’   geographical   distributions,   in     a   phylogenetically   and     spatially   explicit   context.   We   found     that    thermal     tolerance   breadth   was   a   poor     predictor     of     geographical   range   size,   and   that,   overall,   the   ambient    temperature       conditions     that     species     experience     across     their     distributions     do     not     match     well     with     their    thermal       tolerances.     In     the     tropics,     phylogeny     was     much     more     important     for     explaining     the     variation     in    physiological         traits       than      environment,       whereas       environment       was       more       important       than      phylogeny       in    temperate      species.    Dispersal    appeared     to     be    unrelated     to     thermal    tolerance    measures.    Based     on     these    results,     we   assess   the   vulnerability   of     species   to   climate   change   and   explore   how   the   findings   can   be   used    to        build      better      projections      of      species      distributions.      Overall,      we      emphasize      the      need      for      more      cross-­‐ disciplinary  research    among    physiologists,    ecologists,    and    biogeographers,    to    improve    future    projections    of    biodiversity    in    a    changing    world.


Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.

Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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