Trait-based climate vulnerability of native rodents in southwestern Mexico

Arturo Ramírez-Bautista, James H. Thorne, Mark W. Schwartz, John N. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aim: Incorporate species’ trait information together with climate projections for associated habitat to assess the potential vulnerability of rodent taxa to climate change. Location: Oaxaca State, Mexico. Methods: We used a trait-based approach together with climate exposure models to evaluate the vulnerability of rodent species to projected climate conditions in the study region. Vulnerability was estimated based on three factors: (a) Level of climatic exposure that species are projected to experience across their current statewide range; (b) inherent species-specific sensitivity to stochastic events; and (c) species’ capacity to cope with climate change effects. We defined species as inherently sensitive if they had any of the following: restricted geographic distribution in Mexico; narrow altitudinal range; low dispersal ability; or long generation length. Results: Vulnerability varied depending on the climate change scenario applied. Under the MPI general circulation model and current emissions trends, by 2099, all species evaluated were projected to have some level of threat (vulnerable for at least one factor), with 4 out of 55 species vulnerable for all three factors, 29 for two factors, and 22 for one factor. Six out of ten rodent species endemic to Oaxaca were vulnerable for two or more factors. We found that species with narrow and restricted-range distributions combined with low adaptive capacity were projected to be particularly vulnerable. Main conclusions: By including species-specific trait information in climate exposure assessments, researchers can contextualize and enhance their understanding about how climate change is likely to affect individual taxa in an area of interest. As such, studies like this one provide more relevant threat assessment information than exposure analyses alone and serve as a starting point for considering how climatic changes interact with an array of other variables to affect native species across their range.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology and Evolution
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • climate model
  • endemism
  • Oaxaca
  • rare species
  • small mammal
  • spatial analysis
  • threat
  • vegetation type

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