Cross-realm assessment of climate change impacts on species’ abundance trends

Abstract

Climate change, land-use change, pollution and exploitation are among the main drivers of species’ population trends; however, their relative importance is much debated. We used a unique collection of over 1,000 local population time series in 22 communities across terrestrial, freshwater and marine realms within central Europe to compare the impacts of long-term temperature change and other environmental drivers from 1980 onwards. To disentangle different drivers, we related species’ population trends to species- and driver-specific attributes, such as temperature and habitat preference or pollution tolerance. We found a consistent impact of temperature change on the local abundances of terrestrial species. Populations of warm-dwelling species increased more than those of cold-dwelling species. In contrast, impacts of temperature change on aquatic species’ abundances were variable. Effects of temperature preference were more consistent in terrestrial communities than effects of habitat preference, suggesting that the impacts of temperature change have become widespread for recent changes in abundance within many terrestrial communities of central Europe.

Publication
Nature Ecology & Evolution, (1), pp. 0067, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-016-0067