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      Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity : Biodiversity and climate change

      , , , ,
      Ecology Letters
      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Many studies in recent years have investigated the effects of climate change on the future of biodiversity. In this review, we first examine the different possible effects of climate change that can operate at individual, population, species, community, ecosystem and biome scales, notably showing that species can respond to climate change challenges by shifting their climatic niche along three non-exclusive axes: time (e.g. phenology), space (e.g. range) and self (e.g. physiology). Then, we present the principal specificities and caveats of the most common approaches used to estimate future biodiversity at global and sub-continental scales and we synthesise their results. Finally, we highlight several challenges for future research both in theoretical and applied realms. Overall, our review shows that current estimates are very variable, depending on the method, taxonomic group, biodiversity loss metrics, spatial scales and time periods considered. Yet, the majority of models indicate alarming consequences for biodiversity, with the worst-case scenarios leading to extinction rates that would qualify as the sixth mass extinction in the history of the earth. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

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          Synergies among extinction drivers under global change.

          If habitat destruction or overexploitation of populations is severe, species loss can occur directly and abruptly. Yet the final descent to extinction is often driven by synergistic processes (amplifying feedbacks) that can be disconnected from the original cause of decline. We review recent observational, experimental and meta-analytic work which together show that owing to interacting and self-reinforcing processes, estimates of extinction risk for most species are more severe than previously recognised. As such, conservation actions which only target single-threat drivers risk being inadequate because of the cascading effects caused by unmanaged synergies. Future work should focus on how climate change will interact with and accelerate ongoing threats to biodiversity, such as habitat degradation, overexploitation and invasive species.
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            A framework for community interactions under climate change.

            Predicting the impacts of climate change on species is one of the biggest challenges that ecologists face. Predictions routinely focus on the direct effects of climate change on individual species, yet interactions between species can strongly influence how climate change affects organisms at every scale by altering their individual fitness, geographic ranges and the structure and dynamics of their community. Failure to incorporate these interactions limits the ability to predict responses of species to climate change. We propose a framework based on ideas from global-change biology, community ecology, and invasion biology that uses community modules to assess how species interactions shape responses to climate change. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Niches and distributional areas: concepts, methods, and assumptions.

              Estimating actual and potential areas of distribution of species via ecological niche modeling has become a very active field of research, yet important conceptual issues in this field remain confused. We argue that conceptual clarity is enhanced by adopting restricted definitions of "niche" that enable operational definitions of basic concepts like fundamental, potential, and realized niches and potential and actual distributional areas. We apply these definitions to the question of niche conservatism, addressing what it is that is conserved and showing with a quantitative example how niche change can be measured. In this example, we display the extremely irregular structure of niche space, arguing that it is an important factor in understanding niche evolution. Many cases of apparently successful models of distributions ignore biotic factors: we suggest explanations to account for this paradox. Finally, relating the probability of observing a species to ecological factors, we address the issue of what objects are actually calculated by different niche modeling algorithms and stress the fact that methods that use only presence data calculate very different quantities than methods that use absence data. We conclude that the results of niche modeling exercises can be interpreted much better if the ecological and mathematical assumptions of the modeling process are made explicit.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ecology Letters
                Wiley
                1461023X
                April 2012
                April 2012
                January 18 2012
                : 15
                : 4
                : 365-377
                Article
                10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01736.x
                3880584
                22257223
                73e6b216-5d54-4034-8eb9-b91526431919
                © 2012

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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