The influence of species interactions on geographic range change under climate change


Jessica J. Hellmann, Department of Biological Sciences, 100 Galvin Life Science Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556.


The fossil record tells us that many species shifted their geographic distributions during historic climate changes, but this record does not portray the complete picture of future range change in response to climate change. In particular, it does not provide information on how species interactions will affect range shifts. Therefore, we also need modern research to generate understanding of range change. This paper focuses on the role that species interactions play in promoting or preventing geographic ranges shifts under current and future climate change, and we illustrate key points using empirical case studies from an integrated study system. Case studies can have limited generalizability, but they are critical to defining possible outcomes under climate change. Our case studies emphasize host limitation that could reduce range shifts and enemy release that could facilitate range expansion. We also need improvements in modeling that explicitly consider species interactions, and this modeling can be informed by empirical research. Finally, we discuss how species interactions have implications for range management by people.