Herpetological Conservation and Biology
With current declines of vertebrate taxa meeting or exceeding those of historic mass extinction events, there is a growing need to investigate the main drivers of losses. Two of the main drivers of declines are global climate and land-use changes, both affecting multiple groups of taxa. Amphibians are at great risk from these two drivers of change and investigations into the impact of future change could assist with the formation of conservation plans to mitigate losses. Forecasting changes in suitable habitat with ecological niche modeling serves as a useful tool to begin to understand how species may respond to anthropogenic change. We used Maxent to model suitable habitat space of 33 amphibian species within the Midwestern U.S. under multiple future climate change scenarios and used current and predicted changes in land-use to examine the predicted impact of global climate and land-use change. We predicted reductions in suitable habitat for a high proportion of species in all model scenarios, while few species were predicted to gain suitable habitat. No significant differences in percentage change in habitat space were determined between models predicting suitable habitat solely using climate change scenarios or model output that incorporated the impact of land-use change. Species richness of amphibians is predicted to decrease based on future climate and climate + land-use scenarios. In the future, we encourage continuation of the examination of land-use and other global stressors, and further investigations into physiological tolerances of amphibian species to create more robust predictions.
Struecker, Brock and Milanovich, Joseph. Predicted Suitable Habitat Declines for Midwestern United States Amphibians Under Future Climate and Land-Use Change Scenarios. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 12, 3: 635-654, 2017. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Biology: Faculty Publications and Other Works,
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© Brock P. Struecker 2017