How Climate Change Affects Parthenogenetic Whiptails

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.
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Impacts of climate change on birds in South Central U.S. based on bioclimatic variables

Modeling the impacts of climate change on Species of Concern (birds) in South Central U.S. based on bioclimatic variables

Abstract: We used 19 bioclimatic variables, five species distribution modeling (SDM) algorithms, four general circulation models, and two climate scenarios (2050 and 2070) to model nine bird species. Identified as Species of Concern (SOC), we highlighted these birds: Northern/Masked Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus), Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), Pinyon Jay (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus), Juniper Titmouse (Baeolophus ridgwayi), Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis lucida), Cassin’s Sparrow (Peucaea cassinii), Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae), and White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus). The Generalized Linear Model, Random Forest, Boosted Regression Tree, Maxent, Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines, and an ensemble model were used to identify present day core bioclimatic-envelopes for the species. Read On…

Projected Future Bioclimate-Envelope Suitability for Species of Concern in South Central USA

Results of our project “Projected Future Bioclimate-Envelope Suitability for Species of Concern in South Central USA” are now online and datasets are available for download.

Project Summary
This dataset addresses the question of how future shifts in the climate and land use patterns of the South Central United States are likely to affect the distributions of important species and habitat crucial to the conservation of wildlife. It also addresses the integration of knowledge on climate change effects into management strategies and policy by enhancing the functionality of decision support systems (DSS; i.e., CHATs). CHATs are being designed for states across the western U.S. to facilitate landscape-scale conservation, project planning, and climate adaptation and are intended for use by decision-makers at all levels of government. Climate change, and its effects on individual species and biological communities, has become a critical issue requiring that we identify areas that are the most important to protect in the face of impending environmental change. These issues are especially important in the South Central U.S. where dramatic changes in both average and extreme temperatures and precipitation patterns are expected. We selected 20 focal species according to several criteria, including their expected sensitivity to climatic change, and developed bioclimate-envelope models using species occurrence datasets. Climate datasets projected according to IPCC emissions scenarios are used to assess the potential future distributions of these focal species and of large unfragmented areas, respectively. Maps of alternative future distributions of species and unfragmented areas for comparison to present day crucial habitat are to be incorporated into the publicly accessible web-based viewer for the New Mexico (NM) state-level CHAT.
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