Using climatic suitability thresholds to identify past, present and future population viability

Almpanidou, Vasiliki, Schofield, Gail, Kallimanis, Athanasios S., Türkozan, Oguz, Hays, Graeme and Mazaris, Antonios D. 2016, Using climatic suitability thresholds to identify past, present and future population viability, Ecological indicators, vol. 71, pp. 551-556, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.07.038.

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Title Using climatic suitability thresholds to identify past, present and future population viability
Author(s) Almpanidou, Vasiliki
Schofield, GailORCID iD for Schofield, Gail
Kallimanis, Athanasios S.
Türkozan, Oguz
Hays, GraemeORCID iD for Hays, Graeme
Mazaris, Antonios D.
Journal name Ecological indicators
Volume number 71
Start page 551
End page 556
Total pages 6
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2016-12
ISSN 1470-160X
Keyword(s) Adaptation to climate change
Bioclimate envelope
Climatic-based indicator
Evolutionary stable strategy
Species persistencea
Summary Often climatic niche models predict that any change in climatic conditions will impact species abundance or distribution. However, the accuracy of models that just incorporate climatic information to predict future species habitat use is widely debated. Alternatively, environmental conditions may simply need to be above some minimum threshold of climatic suitability, at which point, other factors drive population size. Using the example of nesting sites of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean (n = 105), we developed climatic niche models to examine whether a climatic suitability threshold could be identified as a climatic indicator in order for large populations of a widespread species to exist. We then assessed the climatic suitability of sites above and below this threshold in the past (∼1900) and future (∼2100). Most large sites that are currently above the climatic threshold were above the threshold in the past and future, particularly when future nesting seasonality shifted to start 1–2 months earlier. Our analyses highlight the importance of future phenological shifts for maintaining suitability. Our results provide a positive outlook for sea turtle conservation, suggesting that climatic conditions may remain suitable in the future at sites that currently support large nesting populations. Our study also provides an alternative way of interpreting the outputs of climatic niche models, by generating a threshold as an index of a minimum climatic suitability required to sustain large populations. This type of approach offers the possibility to benefit from information provided by climate-driven models, while reducing their inherent uncertainties.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.07.038
Field of Research 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
060207 Population Ecology
03 Chemical Sciences
05 Environmental Sciences
06 Biological Sciences
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Elsevier
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