A minimalist model of extinction and range dynamics of virtual mountain species driven by warming temperatures

A longstanding question in ecology concerns the prediction of the fate of mountain species under climate change, where climatic and geomorphic factors but also endogenous species characteristics are jointly expected to control species distributions. A significant step forward would single out reliably landscape effects, given their constraining role and relative ease of theoretical manipulation. Here, we address population dynamics in ecosystems where the substrates for ecological interactions are mountain landscapes subject to climate warming. We use a minimalist model of metapopulation dynamics based on virtual species (i.e. a suitable assemblage of focus species) where dispersal processes interact with the spatial structure of the landscape. Climate warming is subsumed by an upward shift of species habitat altering the metapopulation capacity of the landscape and hence species viability. We find that the landscape structure is a powerful determinant of species survival, owing to the specific role of the predictably evolving connectivity of the various habitats. Range shifts and lags in tracking suitable habitat experienced by virtual species under warming conditions are singled out in different landscapes. The range of parameters is identified for which these virtual species (characterized by comparable viability thus restricting their possible fitnesses and niche widths) prove unable to cope with environmental change. The statistics of the proportion of species bound to survive is identified for each landscape, providing the temporal evolution of species range shifts and the related expected occupation patterns. A baseline dynamic model for predicting species fates in evolving habitats is thus provided.


Publié dans:
PLoS ONE, 14, 1-19
Année
Mar 18 2019
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 Notice créée le 2019-03-19, modifiée le 2019-06-19

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