Get access

Individualistic vs community modelling of species distributions under climate change

Authors

  • Andrés Baselga,

  • Miguel B. Araújo


A. Baselga, Depto de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, C/Gutierrez Abascal, 2, ES-28006 Madrid, Spain, and Depto de Zoología, Facultad de Biología, Univ. de Santiago de Compostela, Rúa Lope Gómez de Marzoa, ES-15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain. – M. B. Araújo (maraujo@mncn.csic.es), Depto de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, C/Gutierrez Abascal, 2, ES-28006 Madrid, Spain, Laboratorio Internacional de Cambio Global, UC-CSIC, Depto de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, PUC, Alameda 340, PC 6513677, Santiago, Chile, and Rui Nabeiro Biodiversity Chair, Univ. de Évora, Largo dos Colegiais, PT-7000 Évora, Portugal.

Abstract

Studies investigating the consequences of future climate changes on species distributions usually start with the assumption that species respond to climate changes in an individualistic fashion. This assumption has led researchers to use bioclimate envelope models that use present climate-range relationships to characterize species’ limits of tolerance to climate, and then apply climate-change scenarios to enable projections of altered species distributions. However, there are techniques that combine climate variables together with information on the composition of assemblages to enable projections that are expected to mimic community dynamics. Here, we compare, for the first time, the performance of GLM (generalized linear model) and CQO (canonical quadratic ordination; a type of community-based GLM) for projecting distributions of species under climate change scenarios. We found that projections from these two methods varied both in terms of accuracy (GLM providing generally more accurate projections than CQO) and in the broad diversity patterns yielded (higher species richness values projected with CQO). Model outputs were also affected by species-specific traits, such as species range size and species geographical positions, supporting the view that methods are sensitive to different degrees of equilibrium of species distributions with climate. This study reveals differences in projections between individual- and community-based approaches that require further scrutiny, but it does not find support for unsupervised use community-based models for investigating climate change impacts on species distributions. Reasons for this lack of support are discussed.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary