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Temperature dependence of the reproduction niche and its relevance for plant species distributions


Correspondence: Olga Bykova, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Canada M5S 3B2.



The distribution and abundance of plant species are intimately related to their reproductive success, which in turn is affected by a large number of environmental variables. Yet, reproductive success is rarely taken into account in species distribution models (SDMs). In this paper we examine the extent to which consideration of the reproduction niche and its relationship with temperature could improve SDMs. We review the literature on plant reproductive responses to temperature and the influence of these relationships on species range delimitation. We define the reproduction niche and discuss how temperature influences several stages of the reproductive process. Furthermore, we review examples that illustrate how the reproduction niche influences species distributions and discuss how aspects of the reproduction niche could be considered in SDMs. We show that the reproduction niche fundamentally influences species distributions and that in principle it is easy to include aspects of the reproduction niche in SDMs, although sufficient data are only available for a restricted number of species. Bayesian methods and inverse parameterization may be the most efficient way to use existing data.