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 Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>