Abstract Detail



Ecology

Williams, Tanisha [1], Schlichting, Carl [1], Holsinger, Kent [1].

Using species distribution models to assess the impacts contemporary and forecasted climate change has on the distribution patterns of Pelargonium species throughout South Africa.

Species distributions, abundances and community compositions are undergoing major shifts due to contemporary climate change. Species range limits will be vigorously tested, and the interplay between survival, reproduction, dispersal, plastic change, and evolutionary change will determine how ranges shift, contract, or expand. Species distribution models are an important tool used to assess the relationships between species occurrences and environmental variables, and predict how species distributions will change in response to future climatic conditions. To understand what environmental factors are associated with current Pelargonium occurrences we used the machine learning method, MaxEnt, because of its robust capability to assess presence-only data. Herbarium records for 160 species (N = 11,364 total) were used in this study. Environmental variables were derived from BioClim climatic variables, South African weather station and habitat (e.g., altitude, biome) data. This collection of environmental variables was used to build more accurate distribution models. After identifying a suite of informative environmental variables, we used global climate modeling projections of low, medium, and high greenhouse gas scenarios to forecast the distribution patterns of Pelargoniums in 2050. We found using fine-scaled data derived from the South African weather stations more accurately predicted current species distributions. Future climate projections showed evidence of species shifts (expansions, contractions, and local extinctions) under all three scenarios. This approach has broad applications for research questions regarding current distribution associations, projected species habitat patterns, and conservation efforts.  


1 - University of Connecticut, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Road, Unit 3043, Storrs, CT, 06269, United States

Keywords:
Species Distribution Models
MaxEnt
herbarium data
Pelargonium
South Africa.

Presentation Type: Poster This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PEC027
Abstract ID:870
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Poster


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