Uncertainty in predicting range dynamics of endemic alpine plants under climate warming

Karl Hülber, Johannes Wessely, Andreas Gattringer, Dietmar Moser, Michael Kuttner, Franz Essl, Michael Leitner, Manuela Winkler, Siegrun Ertl, Wolfgang Willner, Ingrid Kleinbauer, Norbert Sauberer, Thomas Mang, Niklaus E. Zimmermann, Stefan Dullinger

Correlative species distribution models have long been the predominant approach to predict species’ range responses to climate change. Recently, the use of dynamic models is increasingly advocated for because these models better represent the main processes involved in range shifts and also simulate transient dynamics. A well-known problem with the application of these models is the lack of data for estimating necessary parameters of demographic and dispersal processes. However, what has been hardly considered so far is the fact that simulating transient dynamics potentially implies additional uncertainty arising from our ignorance of short-term climate variability in future climatic trends. Here, we use endemic mountain plants of Austria as a case study to assess how the integration of decadal variability in future climate affects outcomes of dynamic range models as compared to projected long-term trends and uncertainty in demographic and dispersal parameters. We do so by contrasting simulations of a so-called hybrid model run under fluctuating climatic conditions with those based on a linear interpolation of climatic conditions between current values and those predicted for the end of the 21st century. We find that accounting for short-term climate variability modifies model results nearly as differences in projected long-term trends and much more than uncertainty in demographic/dispersal parameters. In particular, range loss and extinction rates are much higher when simulations are run under fluctuating conditions. These results highlight the importance of considering the appropriate temporal resolution when parameterizing and applying range-dynamic models, and hybrid models in particular. In case of our endemic mountain plants, we hypothesize that smoothed linear time series deliver more reliable results because these long-lived species are primarily responsive to long-term climate averages.

Department für Botanik und Biodiversitätsforschung, Dynamik Kondensierter Systeme
Externe Organisation(en)
Vienna Institute for Nature Conservation and Analyis (VINCA), GLORIA Coordination, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
Global Change Biology
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
Biodiversitätsforschung, Allgemeine Biologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
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