The effects of climate change on a mega-diverse country: predicted shifts in mammalian species richness and turnover in continental Ecuador

Paula Iturralde-Pólit, Olivier Dangles, Santiago F. Burneo, Christine N. Meynard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ecuador has some of the greatest biodiversity in the world, sheltering global biodiversity hotspots in lowland and mountain regions. Climate change will likely have a major effect on these regions, but the consequences for faunal diversity and conservation remain unclear. To address this issue, we used an ensemble of eight species distribution models to predict future shifts and identify areas of high changes in species richness and species turnover for 201 mammals. We projected the distributions using two different climate change scenarios at the 2050 horizon and contrasted two extreme dispersal scenarios (no dispersal vs. full dispersal). Our results showed extended distributional shifts all over the country. For most groups, our results predicted that the current diversity of mammals in Ecuador would decrease significantly under all climate change scenarios and dispersal assumptions. The Northern Andes and the Amazonian region would remain diversity hotspots but with a significant decrease in the number of species. All predictions, including the most conservative scenarios in terms of dispersal and climate change, predicted major changes in the distribution of mammalian species diversity in Ecuador. Primates might be the most severely affected because they would have fewer suitable areas, compared with other mammals. Our work emphasizes the need for sound conservation strategies in Ecuador to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-831
Number of pages11
JournalBiotropica
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation

Keywords

  • CliMond
  • climate change scenarios
  • conservation assessment
  • ensemble forecasting
  • species range
  • species richness
  • species turnover

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