Future projections for Mexican faunas under global climate change scenarios

Nature. 2002 Apr 11;416(6881):626-9. doi: 10.1038/416626a.


Global climates are changing rapidly, with unexpected consequences. Because elements of biodiversity respond intimately to climate as an important driving force of distributional limitation, distributional shifts and biodiversity losses are expected. Nevertheless, in spite of modelling efforts focused on single species or entire ecosystems, a few preliminary surveys of fauna-wide effects, and evidence of climate change-mediated shifts in several species, the likely effects of climate change on species' distributions remain little known, and fauna-wide or community-level effects are almost completely unexplored. Here, using a genetic algorithm and museum specimen occurrence data, we develop ecological niche models for 1,870 species occurring in Mexico and project them onto two climate surfaces modelled for 2055. Although extinctions and drastic range reductions are predicted to be relatively few, species turnover in some local communities is predicted to be high (>40% of species), suggesting that severe ecological perturbations may result.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Birds / physiology*
  • Butterflies / physiology*
  • Climate*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Ecosystem*
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Mexico
  • Models, Biological
  • Population Dynamics
  • Species Specificity