Will tropical mountaintop plant species survive climate change? Identifying key knowledge gaps using species distribution modelling in Australia

Costion, Craig M., Simpson, Lalita, Pert, Petina L., Carlsen, Monica M., Kress, W. John, and Crayn, Darren (2015) Will tropical mountaintop plant species survive climate change? Identifying key knowledge gaps using species distribution modelling in Australia. Biological Conservation, 191. pp. 322-330.

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Abstract

Species inhabiting tropical mountaintops may be most at risk from the detrimental effects of climate change. Yet few regional assessments have critically assessed the degree of threat to species in these habitats. Here we model under three climate scenarios the current and future suitable climate niche of 19 plant species endemic to tropical mountaintops in northeast Queensland, Australia. The suitable climate niche for each of the 19 species is predicted to decline by a minimum of 17% and maximum of 100% by 2040 (mean for all species of 81%) and minimum of 46% (mean for all species of 95%) by 2080. Seven species are predicted to have some suitable climate niche space reductions (ranging from1 to 54% of their current suitable area) by 2080 under all three climate scenarios. Three additional species are projected to retain between 0.1 and 9% of their current distribution under one or two of the climate scenarios. In addition to these declines, which are predicted to occur over the next 30 years in northeast Queensland, we discuss and outline pressing research priorities that may be relevant for the conservation of biodiversity on tropical mountaintop environments across the globe. Specifically, further research is needed on thermal tolerances, acclimation potentials, and physiological constraints of tropical mountaintop taxa as current species distributions are primarily determined by climatic factors.

Item ID: 39577
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: cloud forest, endemics, threatened species, range shifts, acclimation, wet tropics
ISSN: 1873-2917
Funders: Australian Tropical Herbarium, National Environmental Research Program (NERP)
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2015 01:43
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960810 Mountain and High Country Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 10%
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