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, 99 (9), 6070-4

Climate Change Hastens Population Extinctions

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Climate Change Hastens Population Extinctions

John F McLaughlin et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Abstract

Climate change is expected to alter the distribution and abundance of many species. Predictions of climate-induced population extinctions are supported by geographic range shifts that correspond to climatic warming, but few extinctions have been linked mechanistically to climate change. Here we show that extinctions of two populations of a checkerspot butterfly were hastened by increasing variability in precipitation, a phenomenon predicted by global climate models. We model checkerspot populations to show that changes in precipitation amplified population fluctuations, leading to rapid extinctions. As populations of checkerspots and other species become further isolated by habitat loss, climate change is likely to cause more extinctions, threatening both species diversity and critical ecosystem services.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Population estimates for Jasper Ridge Euphydryas editha bayensis adult males, derived from daily mark-recapture data (J.J.H., S. B. Weiss, J.F.M., C.L.B., P.R.E., A. E. Launer, and D. D. Murphy, unpublished work) from 1960 to 1998. Mark-recapture data are incomplete or unavailable for 1964–1968. To show extinctions on a logarithmic scale, values plotted are Nt + 1. Arrows point to population extinctions. Also shown are data on growing season precipitation (October–April), recorded at Woodside Fire Station, California, from 1969 to 1998. ●, Population estimates; ○, precipitation data. (a) JRC; extinction occurred in 1991. (b) JRH; extinction occurred in 1998.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Precipitation at San Jose. The points are growing season (October–April) precipitation, recorded during 1932–1998 and archived at the National Climatic Data Center, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/climate/stationlocator.html. Data before and after 1971 are plotted with different symbols: ●, 1932–1971; ○, 1972–1998. The solid line is the least squares linear trend; slope = 1.18 mm/year, P = 0.15.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Variance in annual growing season precipitation at San Jose. Variance was estimated from bootstrapped samples, as described in Methods. Points are the mean (±1 SE) of the variance in each of 200 bootstrapped samples drawn from a moving 20-year window. Points are plotted at the 10th year of each 20-year window.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Simulated trajectories for Jasper Ridge E. e. bayensis populations. Simulations used mixed endogenous/exogenous models for each population and the 1932–1998 adjusted San Jose precipitation time series. Results are shown for several starting population sizes, N1932: ▵, 200; □, 500; ○, 1,000; ●, 2,000; ⋄, 5,000. (a) JRC. (b) JRH.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Population simulations before and after climate change. Simulations were run with population-specific models and bootstrapped samples of adjusted San Jose precipitation before and after 1971 (see Methods). One thousand simulations were run for each combination of population and time interval (Fig. 6), but only the first 10 simulations for each combination are shown here. (a) JRC simulations using bootstrapped samples from 1932–1970 precipitation data. (b) JRH simulations using bootstrapped samples from 1932–1970 precipitation data. (c) JRC simulations with 1972–1991 precipitation data. (d) JRH simulations with 1972–1998 precipitation data.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Distributions of population persistence times, simulated before and after climate change. Simulations for each population were run using 1,000 bootstrapped samples of adjusted San Jose precipitation before and after 1971 (see Methods). (a) JRC simulations using samples from 1932–1970 precipitation data. (b) JRH simulations using samples from 1932–1970 precipitation data. (c) JRC simulations with samples from 1972–1991 precipitation data. (d) JRH simulations with samples from 1972–1998 precipitation data.

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