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Predicted Shifts in Small Mammal Distributions and Biodiversity in the Altered Future Environment of Alaska: An Open Access Data and Machine Learning Perspective.

Baltensperger AP, Huettmann F - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We found that distributions of cold-climate, northern, and interior small mammal species experienced large decreases in area while shifting northward, upward in elevation, and inland across the state.Statewide community assemblages remained constant for 15 of the 17 species, but distributional shifts resulted in novel species assemblages in several regions.Quantitative species distribution and biodiversity change projections should help land managers to develop adaptive strategies for conserving dispersal corridors, small mammal biodiversity, and ecosystem functionality into the future.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: EWHALE Lab, Department of Biology and Wildlife, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Climate change is acting to reallocate biomes, shift the distribution of species, and alter community assemblages in Alaska. Predictions regarding how these changes will affect the biodiversity and interspecific relationships of small mammals are necessary to pro-actively inform conservation planning. We used a set of online occurrence records and machine learning methods to create bioclimatic envelope models for 17 species of small mammals (rodents and shrews) across Alaska. Models formed the basis for sets of species-specific distribution maps for 2010 and were projected forward using the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) A2 scenario to predict distributions of the same species for 2100. We found that distributions of cold-climate, northern, and interior small mammal species experienced large decreases in area while shifting northward, upward in elevation, and inland across the state. In contrast, many southern and continental species expanded throughout Alaska, and also moved down-slope and toward the coast. Statewide community assemblages remained constant for 15 of the 17 species, but distributional shifts resulted in novel species assemblages in several regions. Overall biodiversity patterns were similar for both time frames, but followed general species distribution movement trends. Biodiversity losses occurred in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and Seward Peninsula while the Beaufort Coastal Plain and western Brooks Range experienced modest gains in species richness as distributions shifted to form novel assemblages. Quantitative species distribution and biodiversity change projections should help land managers to develop adaptive strategies for conserving dispersal corridors, small mammal biodiversity, and ecosystem functionality into the future.

No MeSH data available.


Species richness graphs.Histograms depicting the frequency of pixels for the number of species in a) 2010, b) 2100, as well as the net change in c) species richness, and d) relative indices of occurrence.
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pone.0132054.g005: Species richness graphs.Histograms depicting the frequency of pixels for the number of species in a) 2010, b) 2100, as well as the net change in c) species richness, and d) relative indices of occurrence.

Mentions: Geographic patterns of predicted small mammal biodiversity in 2100 were similar to those in 2010 (Fig 4). Biodiversity ‘hot-spots’ with the highest species richness (14 species) in 2100 were predicted for 10 km2 of the Brooks Range and Ogilvie Mountains and 13 species were predicted to occur in 765 km2 of mountainous boreal forest scattered throughout the upland regions of central Interior Alaska (Fig 4). The lowest small mammal species richness (≤ 3 species) was predicted for southwest Alaska and the eastern Brooks Range (Fig 4). Changes in species richness that were ± 1 or less occurred in 59% of the state, however some regions experienced changes in overall small mammal diversity as high as +9 and as low as −8 species (Figs 4 and 5). A small decrease in overall biodiversity occurred between 2010 and 2100, yet areas containing 4 to 5 species in 2010 underwent an increase of 1 to 2 species (Fig 5). Areas of increased biodiversity were projected for mountainous regions as well as at lower elevations north of the Brooks Range. Top explanatory variables accounting for these patterns included Soil Type, Surficial Geology, Distance to Sea Ice, Elevation, Distance to Coast, and Mean Active Layer Thickness.


Predicted Shifts in Small Mammal Distributions and Biodiversity in the Altered Future Environment of Alaska: An Open Access Data and Machine Learning Perspective.

Baltensperger AP, Huettmann F - PLoS ONE (2015)

Species richness graphs.Histograms depicting the frequency of pixels for the number of species in a) 2010, b) 2100, as well as the net change in c) species richness, and d) relative indices of occurrence.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4514745&req=5

pone.0132054.g005: Species richness graphs.Histograms depicting the frequency of pixels for the number of species in a) 2010, b) 2100, as well as the net change in c) species richness, and d) relative indices of occurrence.
Mentions: Geographic patterns of predicted small mammal biodiversity in 2100 were similar to those in 2010 (Fig 4). Biodiversity ‘hot-spots’ with the highest species richness (14 species) in 2100 were predicted for 10 km2 of the Brooks Range and Ogilvie Mountains and 13 species were predicted to occur in 765 km2 of mountainous boreal forest scattered throughout the upland regions of central Interior Alaska (Fig 4). The lowest small mammal species richness (≤ 3 species) was predicted for southwest Alaska and the eastern Brooks Range (Fig 4). Changes in species richness that were ± 1 or less occurred in 59% of the state, however some regions experienced changes in overall small mammal diversity as high as +9 and as low as −8 species (Figs 4 and 5). A small decrease in overall biodiversity occurred between 2010 and 2100, yet areas containing 4 to 5 species in 2010 underwent an increase of 1 to 2 species (Fig 5). Areas of increased biodiversity were projected for mountainous regions as well as at lower elevations north of the Brooks Range. Top explanatory variables accounting for these patterns included Soil Type, Surficial Geology, Distance to Sea Ice, Elevation, Distance to Coast, and Mean Active Layer Thickness.

Bottom Line: We found that distributions of cold-climate, northern, and interior small mammal species experienced large decreases in area while shifting northward, upward in elevation, and inland across the state.Statewide community assemblages remained constant for 15 of the 17 species, but distributional shifts resulted in novel species assemblages in several regions.Quantitative species distribution and biodiversity change projections should help land managers to develop adaptive strategies for conserving dispersal corridors, small mammal biodiversity, and ecosystem functionality into the future.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: EWHALE Lab, Department of Biology and Wildlife, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Climate change is acting to reallocate biomes, shift the distribution of species, and alter community assemblages in Alaska. Predictions regarding how these changes will affect the biodiversity and interspecific relationships of small mammals are necessary to pro-actively inform conservation planning. We used a set of online occurrence records and machine learning methods to create bioclimatic envelope models for 17 species of small mammals (rodents and shrews) across Alaska. Models formed the basis for sets of species-specific distribution maps for 2010 and were projected forward using the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) A2 scenario to predict distributions of the same species for 2100. We found that distributions of cold-climate, northern, and interior small mammal species experienced large decreases in area while shifting northward, upward in elevation, and inland across the state. In contrast, many southern and continental species expanded throughout Alaska, and also moved down-slope and toward the coast. Statewide community assemblages remained constant for 15 of the 17 species, but distributional shifts resulted in novel species assemblages in several regions. Overall biodiversity patterns were similar for both time frames, but followed general species distribution movement trends. Biodiversity losses occurred in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and Seward Peninsula while the Beaufort Coastal Plain and western Brooks Range experienced modest gains in species richness as distributions shifted to form novel assemblages. Quantitative species distribution and biodiversity change projections should help land managers to develop adaptive strategies for conserving dispersal corridors, small mammal biodiversity, and ecosystem functionality into the future.

No MeSH data available.