Focus on poleward shifts in species' distribution underestimates the fingerprint of climate change

VanDerWal, Jeremy, Murphy, Helen T., Kutt, Alex S., Perkins, Genevieve C., Bateman, Brooke L., Perry, Justin J. and Reside, April E. (2013) Focus on poleward shifts in species' distribution underestimates the fingerprint of climate change. Nature Climate Change, 3 3: 239-243. doi:10.1038/nclimate1688

Author VanDerWal, Jeremy
Murphy, Helen T.
Kutt, Alex S.
Perkins, Genevieve C.
Bateman, Brooke L.
Perry, Justin J.
Reside, April E.
Title Focus on poleward shifts in species' distribution underestimates the fingerprint of climate change
Journal name Nature Climate Change   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1758-678X
Publication date 2013-03-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nclimate1688
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 3
Issue 3
Start page 239
End page 243
Total pages 5
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Species are largely predicted to shift poleward as global temperatures increase, with this fingerprint of climate change being already observed across a range of taxonomic groups and, mostly temperate, geographic locations. However, the assumption of uni-directional distribution shifts does not account for complex interactions among temperature, precipitation and species-specific tolerances, all of which shape the direction and magnitude of changes in a species' climatic niche. We analysed 60 years of past climate change on the Australian continent, assessing the velocity of changes in temperature and precipitation, as well as changes in climatic niche space for 464 Australian birds. We show large magnitude and rapid rates of change in Australian climate over the past 60 years resulting in high-velocity and multi-directional, including equatorial, shifts in suitable climatic space for birds (ranging from 0.1 to 7.6 km yr-1, mean 1.27 km yr-1). Overall, if measured only in terms of poleward distribution shifts, the fingerprint of climate change is underestimated by an average of 26% in temperate regions of the continent and by an average of 95% in tropical regions. We suggest that the velocity of movement required by Australian species to track their climatic niche may be much faster than previously thought and that the interaction between temperature and precipitation changes will result in multi-directional distribution shifts globally.
Keyword Environmental Sciences
Environmental Studies
Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 100 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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