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The performance of models relating species geographical distributions to climate is independent of trophic level

Authors

  • Brian Huntley,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Ecosystem Science, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
      E-mail: brian.huntley@durham.ac.uk
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  • Rhys E. Green,

    1. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Conservation Biology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
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  • Yvonne C. Collingham,

    1. Institute of Ecosystem Science, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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  • Jane K. Hill,

    1. Institute of Ecosystem Science, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
    2. Department of Biology, University of York, PO Box 373, York YO10 5YW, UK
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  • Stephen G. Willis,

    1. Institute of Ecosystem Science, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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  • Patrick J. Bartlein,

    1. Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1251, USA
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  • Wolfgang Cramer,

    1. Department of Global Change and Natural Systems, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PO Box 60 12 03, D-14412 Potsdam, Germany
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  • Ward J. M. Hagemeijer,

    1. European Bird Census Council, SOVON Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology, Rijkstraatweg 178, 6573 DG Beek-Ubbergen, The Netherlands. Present address: Wetlands International, PO Box 7002, 6700 CA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Christopher J. Thomas

    1. Institute of Ecosystem Science, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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E-mail: brian.huntley@durham.ac.uk

Abstract

Species–climate ‘envelope’ models are widely used to evaluate potential climate change impacts upon species and biodiversity. Previous studies have used a variety of methods to fit models making it difficult to assess relative model performance for different taxonomic groups, life forms or trophic levels. Here we use the same climatic data and modelling approach for 306 European species representing three major taxa (higher plants, insects and birds), and including species of different life form and from four trophic levels. Goodness-of-fit measures showed that useful models were fitted for >96% of species, and that model performance was related neither to major taxonomic group nor to trophic level. These results confirm that such climate envelope models provide the best approach currently available for evaluating reliably the potential impacts of future climate change upon biodiversity.

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