Citation: Alvarez, Guillermo; Salas, Eric A.L.; Harings, Nicole M.; Boykin, Kenneth G. 2017. “Projections of Future Suitable Bioclimatic Conditions of Parthenogenetic Whiptails.” Climate 5, no. 2: 34.
This paper highlights the results of bioclimatic-envelope modeling of whiptail lizards belonging to the Aspidoscelis tesselata species group and related species. We utilized five species distribution models (SDM) including Generalized Linear Model, Random Forest, Boosted Regression Tree, Maxent and Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines to develop the present day distributions of the species based on climate-driven models alone. We then projected future distributions of whiptails using data from four climate models run according to two greenhouse gas concentration scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5). Results of A. tesselata species group suggested that climate change will negatively affect the bioclimatic habitat and distribution of some species, while projecting gains in suitability for others. Furthermore, when the species group was analyzed together, climate projections changed for some species compared to when they were analyzed alone, suggesting significant loss of syntopic areas where suitable climatic conditions for more than two species would persist. In other words, syntopy within members of the species group will be drastically reduced according to future bioclimatic suitability projections in this study.