NCEAS Product 24853

Burrows, Michael T.; Schoeman, David S.; Richardson, Anthony J.; Molinos, Jorge Garcia; Hoffmann, A.; Buckley, Lauren B.; Moore, Pippa J.; Brown, Christopher J.; Bruno, John F.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Kappel, Carrie V.; Kiessling, Wolfgang; O'Connor, Mary I.; Pandolfi, John M.; Parmesan, Camille; Sydeman, William J.; Ferrier, Simon; Williams, Kristen J.; Poloczanska, Elvira. 2014. Geographical limits to species-range shifts are suggested by climate velocity. Nature. Vol: 507. Pages 492-495. (Abstract)

Abstract

The reorganization of patterns of species diversity driven by anthro- pogenic climate change, and the consequences for humans1, are not yet fully understood or appreciated2,3. Nevertheless, changes in cli- mate conditions are useful for predicting shifts in species distribu- tions at global4 and local scales5. Here we use the velocity of climate change6,7 to derive spatial trajectories for climatic niches from 1960 to 2009 (ref. 7) and from 2006 to 2100, and use the properties of these trajectories to infer changes in species distributions. Coastlines act as barriers and locally cooler areas act as attractors for traject- ories, creating source and sink areas for local climatic conditions. Climate source areas indicate where locally novel conditions are not connected to areas where similar climates previously occurred, and are thereby inaccessible to climate migrants tracking isotherms: 16% of global surface area for 1960 to 2009, and 34% of ocean for the ‘business as usual’ climate scenario (representative concentra- tion pathway (RCP) 8.5)8 representing continued use of fossil fuels without mitigation. Climate sink areas are where climate conditions locally disappear, potentially blocking the movement of climate migrants. Sink areas comprise 1.0% of ocean area and 3.6% of land and are prevalent on coasts and high ground. Using this approach to infer shifts in species distributions gives global and regional maps of the expected direction and rate of shifts of climate migrants, and suggests areas of potential loss of species richness.