Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Near-extinct African amphibians 'invisible' under climate change

05.09.2014

An international team of researchers has found that the majority of threatened species are 'invisible' when using modern methods to predict species distributions under climate change.

Using African amphibians as a case study, the researchers found that more than 90 per cent of the species listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are omitted by the most popular tools for species distribution modelling.

The study, led by researchers from the Universities of York and Copenhagen and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in Cambridge, is published in the journal Diversity and Distributions.

Dr Philip Platts, lead author and Research Fellow with York's Environment Department, said: "Modern methods to predict species distributions under climate change typically leave out rare and threatened species - the ones that currently underpin global spending on conservation. This is because those species, almost by definition, have too few data for their spatial distributions to be modelled using standard tools. We looked at whether missing them out makes a difference for conservation priority setting, either now or under future climates."

The researchers found that under the current climate, statistical restrictions on species distribution modelling means that important sites for narrow-ranging and threatened species are systematically down-played. They say this issue spans many species-groups and is only partially mitigated by modelling at finer spatial scales.

However, when they looked at climate change in the future, they found that persistence among both narrow and wide-ranging species is likely to be highest in sites already identified for conservation investment. Many such sites are projected to experience lower rates of climatic change, echoing historical processes underlying their importance. The wealth of species accumulated, in part, because they were able to persist during large-scale climatic shifts.

The researchers conclude that the focus on existing priorities ought to be maintained, noting that due to forest clearance for agriculture and demand for wood-based fuels, many species could now be incapable of tracking even relatively small changes in climate.

Dr Raquel Garcia, from the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (CMEC) at the University of Copenhagen, who co-led the study, said: "Effective biodiversity conservation, both now and in the future, relies on our ability to assess patterns of threat across all species, but particularly those close to extinction. There are ways around the problem, such as combining simple measures of exposure to climate change with knowledge of species' ability to disperse or adapt – methods less reliant on sophisticated modelling tools, which are impractical for many of the rarest species."

The researchers examined data on 733 African amphibians in Sub-Saharan Africa. They found that 400 have too few records to be used in species distribution modelling at continental scales, including 92 per cent of those listed as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List. Amphibians were chosen for the study because of the high rates of threat they are predicted to face from climate change, habitat loss and disease, especially in Africa.

Professor Neil Burgess, Head of Science at UNEP-WCMC and Principal Investigator on the study, said: "These results show that unless we use appropriate analysis for the impacts of climate change on species such as amphibians, we risk leaving many rare species under-represented in conservation plans, with the potential to misguide conservation efforts on the ground."

###

The study also involved the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid; the University of Évora, Portugal; the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt; the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; the IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland; Imperial College London; and the World Wildlife Fund–US.

Caron Lett | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.york.ac.uk

Further reports about: Africa African Environment IUCN UNEP-WCMC amphibians difference spatial species

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht The oceans can’t take any more
03.07.2015 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Improved veterinary service for livestock is significant for leopard conservation
02.07.2015 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Viaducts with wind turbines, the new renewable energy source

Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity. So it is confirmed by calculations carried out by a European researchers team, that have taken a viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations.

The Juncal Viaduct, in Gran Canaria, has served as a reference for Spanish and British researchers to verify that the wind blowing between the pillars on this...

Im Focus: X-rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time

New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions

A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...

Im Focus: Iron: A biological element?

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...

Im Focus: Thousands of Droplets for Diagnostics

Researchers develop new method enabling DNA molecules to be counted in just 30 minutes

A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...

Im Focus: Bionic eye clinical trial results show long-term safety, efficacy vision-restoring implant

Patients using Argus II experienced significant improvement in visual function and quality of life

The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine: Abstract Submission has been extended to 24 June

16.06.2015 | Event News

MUSE hosting Europe’s largest science communication conference

11.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Siemens receives order for offshore wind power plant in Great Britain

03.07.2015 | Press release

'Déjà vu all over again:' Research shows 'mulch fungus' causes turfgrass disease

03.07.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Discovery points to a new path toward a universal flu vaccine

03.07.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>