Australia’s savanna herbivores : bioclimatic distributions and an assessment of the potential impact of regional climate change

Ritchie, Euan G. and Bolitho, Elizabeth E. 2008, Australia’s savanna herbivores : bioclimatic distributions and an assessment of the potential impact of regional climate change, Physiological and biochemical zoology, vol. 81, no. 6, pp. 880-890.

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Title Australia’s savanna herbivores : bioclimatic distributions and an assessment of the potential impact of regional climate change
Author(s) Ritchie, Euan G.
Bolitho, Elizabeth E.
Journal name Physiological and biochemical zoology
Volume number 81
Issue number 6
Start page 880
End page 890
Publisher The University of Chicago Press
Place of publication Chicago, Il.
Publication date 2008-11
ISSN 1522-2152
1537-5293
Summary The future impacts of climate change are predicted to significantly affect the survival of many species. Recent studies indicate that even species that are relatively mobile and/or have large geographic ranges may be at risk of range contractions or extinction. An ecologically and evolutionary significant group of mammals that has been largely overlooked in this research is Australia’s large marsupial herbivores, the macropodids (kangaroos). The aims of our investigation were to define and compare the climatic conditions that influence the current distributions of four sympatric large macropodids in northern Australia (Macropus antilopinus, Macropus robustus, Macropus giganteus, and Macropus rufus) and to predict the potential future impact of climate change on these species. Our results suggest that contemporary distributions of these large macropodids are associated with well‐defined climatic gradients (tropical and temperate conditions) and that climatic seasonality is also important. Bioclimatic modeling predicted an average reduction in northern Australian macropodid distributions of in response to increases of 2.0°C. At this temperature, the distribution of M. antilopinus was reduced by . We predict that increases of 6.0°C may cause severe range reductions for all four macropodids ( ) in northern Australia, and this range reduction may result in the extinction of M. antilopinus.
Language eng
Field of Research 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Socio Economic Objective 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008 by The University of Chicago.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30039769

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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