|Abstracts on Global Climate Change|
Day-to-day variation in sea-surface temperature reduces sooty tern Sterna fuscata foraging success on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Erwin, CA Congdon, BC
MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES 331: 255-266
Many seabird species threatened by global climate change are found mainly or exclusively in tropical regions. A shortage of long-term data linking climatic variation, oceanography and tropical seabird reproductive biology at both within- and between-season temporal scales means that the potential impact of climate change on these species is largely unknown. The sooty tern Sterna fuscata, an almost ubiquitous tropical seabird, has been declining on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, over the last 3 decades. We examined the relationship between sooty tern foraging success and sea-surface temperature (SST) at Michaelmas Cay over 2 consecutive breeding seasons. Consistent patterns were observed with significant negative relationships between day-to-day variation in SST and both the amount of food fed to chicks and the feeding frequency during the latter two-thirds of each breeding season. At the beginning of each breeding cycle, rapid changes in foraging success highlighted that other within-season mechanisms also influence sooty tern reproductive potential. Our results suggest a previously undescribed spatial and temporal link between SST and sooty tern reproduction. Combined with previous findings for the southern GBR, this suggests that SST variation can influence the foraging success of multiple tropical seabird species at a reef-wide scale and implies a significant negative effect of forecasted climatic changes on seabirds breeding on the GBR.
Namaqualand’s climate: Recent historical changes and future scenarios
MacKellar, NC Hewitson, BC Tadross, MA
JOURNAL OF ARID ENVIRONMENTS 70:4 604-614
A brief outline of some issues concerning global climate change research is presented before discussing local-scale changes in Namaqaland’s rainfall. Using a gridded data set derived through interpolation of station records, trends in observed rainfall for the period 1950-1999 are discussed. To assess what changes may occur during the 21st century, the downscaled results of six different General Circulation Model projections are presented. The historical trends show some clear spatial patterns, which depict regions of wetting in the central coastal belt and the north-eastern part of the domain, and extensive drying along the escarpment. Reasonably good agreement is shown by the different downscaled projections. These suggest increased late summer convective precipitation in the north-east, but extensive drying along the coast in early and mid winter consistent with the poleward retreat of rain-bearing mid-latitude cyclones. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Simulated changes in active/break spells during the Indian summer monsoon due to enhanced CO2 concentrations: assessment from selected coupled atmosphere-ocean global climate models
Mandke, SK Sahai, AK Shinde, MA Joseph, S Chattopadhyay, R
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY 27:7 837-859
The simulations by ten coupled GCMs under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report-4 are used to study the implication of possible global climate change on active/break spells of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM). The validation of the mean daily cycle of the summer monsoon precipitation over the Indian core region and the spatial pattern of the ISM precipitation climatology with observation suggest that six models simulate fairly well, whereas four models differ from observation. Thus, the identification of activelbreak spells is confined to six models. The sensitivity to climate change has been assessed from two experiments, namely, 1% per year CO2 increase to doubling and 1% per year CO2 increase to quadrupling. The changes in the daily mean cycle and the standard deviation of precipitation, frequency, and duration of active/break spells in future climate change are uncertain among the models and at times among two experiments. The break composite precipitation anomalies strengthen and spread moderately (significantly) in the doubled (quadrupled) CO2 experiment. Copyright (c) 2006 Royal Meteorological Society.
Evidence for carbon sequestration by agricultural liming
Hamilton, SK Kurzman, AL Arango, C Jin, LX Robertson, GP
GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES 21:2 -
 Agricultural lime can be a source or a sink for CO2, depending on whether reaction occurs with strong acids or carbonic acid. Here we examine the impact of liming on global warming potential by comparing the sum of Ca2+ and Mg2+ to carbonate alkalinity in soil solutions beneath unmanaged vegetation versus limed row crops, and of streams and rivers in agricultural versus forested watersheds, mainly in southern Michigan. Soil solutions sampled by tension indicated that lime can act as either a source or a sink for CO2. However, infiltrating waters tended to indicate net CO2 uptake, as did tile drainage waters and streams draining agricultural watersheds. As nitrate concentrations increased in infiltrating waters, lime switched from a net CO2 sink to a source, implying nitrification as a major acidifying process. Dissolution of lime may sequester CO2 equal to roughly 25 - 50% of its C content, in contrast to the prevailing assumption that all of the carbon in lime becomes CO2. The similar to 30 Tg/yr of agricultural lime applied in the United States could thus sequester up to 1.9 TgC/ yr, about 15% of the annual change in the U. S. CO2 emissions (12 Tg C/yr for 2002 - 2003). The implications of liming for atmospheric CO2 stabilization should be considered in strategies to mitigate global climate change.
Palau’s coral reefs show differential habitat recovery following the 1998-bleaching event
Golbuu, Y Victor, S Penland, L Idip, D Emaurois, C Okaji, K Yukihira, H Iwase, A van Woesik, R
CORAL REEFS 26:2 319-332
Documenting successional dynamics of coral communities following large-scale bleaching events is necessary to predict coral population responses to global climate change. In 1998, high sea surface temperatures and low cloud cover in the western Pacific Ocean caused high coral mortality on the outer exposed reefs of Palau (Micronesia), while coral mortality in sheltered bays was low. Recovery was examined from 2001 to 2005 at 13 sites stratified by habitat (outer reefs, patch reefs and bays) and depth (3 and 10 m). Two hypotheses were tested: (1) rates of change of coral cover vary in accordance with habitat, and (2) recovery rates depend on recruitment. Coral cover increased most in the sheltered bays, despite a low recruitment rate, suggesting that recovery in bays was primarily a consequence of remnant regrowth. Recruitment densities were consistently high on the wave-exposed reefs, particularly the western slopes, where recovery was attributed to both recruitment and regrowth of remnants. Recovery was initially more rapid at 10 m than 3 m on outer reefs, but in 2004, recovery rates were similar at both depths. Rapid recovery was possible because Palau’s coral reefs were buffered by remnant survival and recruitment from the less impacted habitats.
Thermal stress and coral cover as drivers of coral disease outbreaks
Bruno, JF Selig, ER Casey, KS Page, CA Willis, BL Harvell, CD Sweatman, H Melendy, AM
PLOS BIOLOGY 5:6 1220-1227
Very little is known about how environmental changes such as increasing temperature affect disease dynamics in the ocean, especially at large spatial scales. We asked whether the frequency of warm temperature anomalies is positively related to the frequency of coral disease across 1,500 km of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. We used a new high-resolution satellite dataset of ocean temperature and 6 y of coral disease and coral cover data from annual surveys of 48 reefs to answer this question. We found a highly significant relationship between the frequencies of warm temperature anomalies and of white syndrome, an emergent disease, or potentially, a group of diseases, of Pacific reef- building corals. The effect of temperature was highly dependent on coral cover because white syndrome outbreaks followed warm years, but only on high (> 50%) cover reefs, suggesting an important role of host density as a threshold for outbreaks. Our results indicate that the frequency of temperature anomalies, which is predicted to increase in most tropical oceans, can increase the susceptibility of corals to disease, leading to outbreaks where corals are abundant.
The efficiency gap behind the Annex I parties under the Kyoto Protocol
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND WORLD ECOLOGY 14:3 225-234
With the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, an era of global efforts to combat climate change is beginning. Countries belonging to Annex I Parties are obligated to meet their target in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This paper broadens the scope of research to compare the performance between two groups, Annex 11 Parties and economies in transition (EIT) Parties (both of which are in the set of Annex I Parties), undertaking responsibilities for GHG emission reduction. This differs from the traditional application of evaluation and aims to identify inherent efficiency differences across systems, rather than separately from the potential inefficiency of individual countries. An efficiency gap was found between the group of Annex 11 Parties and the group of EIT Parties, by adjusting efficiency levels. Considering a reference set, efficient Annex 11 countries are referenced, both within their own group and within the EIT group; efficient EIT countries are only benchmarked within the group. The evidence provided can shed light on the function of joint implementation, that Annex I countries will cooperate to reduce GHG emissions, based on their common, but differentiated, responsibilities and capacity for global climate change.
Constructing regional scenarios for sustainable agriculture in European Russia and Ukraine for 2000 to 2070
Romanenko, IA Romanenkov, VA Smith, P Smith, JU Sirotenko, OD Lisovoi, NV Shevtsova, LK Rukhovich, DI Koroleva, PV
REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE 7:2 63-77
This study estimates the consequences of climate change on cropland with and without implementation of adaptation measures, paying special attention to the maintenance of soil organic carbon (C) stocks. We examine the possibility for regional sustainable agricultural management practice that combines both maintenance and gain in soil carbon level with profit maximization. Future scenarios of Regional Agricultural Production Systems (RAPS) were constructed for 2000-2070 based on linking the effects of global climate change, predicted change in productivity parameters for the main agricultural crops, land-use and soil database parameters. The RAPS were used to examine profitability and feasibility of alternative agricultural scenarios, based on an economic model. A number of recommendations for decision making were proposed based on an assessment of the efficiency of adaptation in animal husbandry and in the crop production sector, after analysis of current percentage of perennial grass in rotation in comparison with future economic scenarios.
Response of macroinvertebrates to warming, nutrient addition and predation in large-scale mesocosm tanks
Feuchtmayr, H McKee, D Harvey, IF Atkinson, D Moss, B
HYDROBIOLOGIA 584: 425-432
There is increasing concern about the effect of climate change on aquatic systems. We examined changes in macroinvertebrate communities caused by increased temperature (3 degrees C above ambient during summer only and continuous 3 degrees C above ambient all year round), influences of fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.) and addition of nutrients ( nitrogen and phosphorus) in 48 large-scale (3000 l) tanks over a 2 year period. While numbers of Isopoda, Chaoborus, Corixidae, Ephemeroptera, Notonectidae and Odonata were reduced by the presence of fish, nutrient addition caused isopods, corixids, mayflies and odonates to increase in abundance. Impacts of temperature increase were surprisingly low, with only gastropods increasing in heated tanks, suggesting that, overall abundances of most macroinvertebrate taxa will not be severely affected by the predicted temperature rise. To determine if taxa were sampled representatively during the experiment, net sweep samples taken towards the end of the experiment were compared with final macroinvertebrate abundances when the complete contents of each tank were harvested. We found that net sweeping is an appropriate semi-quantitative method for most taxa in mesocosm tanks. However, mites, coleopteran adults and larvae, dipterans and Chaoborus were not adequately sampled. This might explain why we could not detect any treatment effects of temperature, fish or nutrients on mites, coleopterans and dipterans and calls for different sampling techniques for these taxa, especially in ponds with vegetation stands.
Comparative risk assessment of the burden of disease from climate change
Campbell-Lendrum, D Woodruff, R
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES 114:12 1935-1941
The World Health Organization has developed standardized comparative risk assessment methods for estimating aggregate disease burdens attributable to different risk factors. These have been applied to existing and new models for a range of climate-sensitive diseases in order to estimate the effect of global climate change on current disease burdens and likely proportional changes in the future. The comparative risk assessment approach has been used to assess the health consequences of climate change worldwide, to inform decisions on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and in a regional assessment of the Oceania region in the Pacific Ocean to provide more location-specific information relevant to local mitigation and adaptation decisions. The approach places climate change within the same criteria for epidemiologic assessment as other health risks and accounts for the size of the burden of climate-sensitive diseases rather than just proportional change, which highlights the importance of small proportional changes in diseases such as diarrhea and malnutrition that cause a large burden. These exercises help clarify important knowledge gaps such as a relatively poor understanding of the role of nonclimatic factors (socioeconomic and other) that may modify future climatic influences and a lack of empiric evidence and methods for quantifying more complex climate-health relationships, which consequently are often excluded from consideration. These exercises highlight the need for risk assessment frameworks that make the best use of traditional epidemiologic methods and that also fully consider the specific characteristics of climate change. These include the long-term and uncertain nature of the exposure and the effects on multiple physical and biotic systems that have the potential for diverse and widespread effects, including high-impact events.
The influence of the possible global climate change on the properties of Mexican soils
Nikol’skii, YN Castillo-Alvarez, M Bakhlaeva, OS Roma-Calleros, XA Maslov, BS
EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE 39:11 1164-1169
To estimate the changes in the integral fertility index of virgin soils in Mexico upon the expected global climate changes, we applied a method based on revealing the quantitative relationship between the Budyko radiation index of dryness and the modal values of the regional agrochemical properties of soils located on a nearly horizontal surface (with slope of less than 0.001) at elevations ranging from 0 to 2500 m a.s.l. The results of existing forecasts of the alteration of the global air temperature, radiation, and precipitation were also used. In the case that the carbon dioxide content is doubled in the atmosphere by the end of the 21st century, a medium and weak decrease in the soil fertility will be observed in the central (cereal) regions of Mexico; furthermore, a significant (over 20%) decrease in fertility will be observed in the tropical regions, where sugar cane is cultivated.
Study on the trace species in the stratosphere and their impact on climate
Chen, YJ Zhou, RJ Shi, CH Bi, Y
ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES 23:6 1020-1039
The trace gases (O-3, HCl, CH4, H2O, NO, NO2) in the stratosphere play an important role, not only in the photochemical processes in which the ozone layer destroyed, but also in the radiative processes. In this paper, we review the works on the distribution and variation of the trace gases in the stratosphere and their impact on climate, which have been carried out at the University of Science and Technology of China in the recent 20 years. The Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) data were used to analyse the distribution and variation of the mixing ratio of these trace gases and the temperature trends in the stratosphere in the most recent decade. And the reanalyzed National Centers of Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/NCAR data were also used to give the temperature trends and compared with the results from HALOE data. Numerical simulations were also carried out to study the impact of ozone depletion on the global climate. In this review, the distributions of the trace gases, especially those over the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, are discussed, and the variations and trends for the trace gases in various levels in the stratosphere have been given for the most recent decade. The temperature variation and the cooling trend obtained from HALOE data in the middle and lower stratosphere for the last 13 years are significant, which agree well with the results from NCEP/NCAR data. While the temperature trend in the upper stratosphere in this period do not seem to have much cooling. The numerical simulations show that either the Antarctic ozone hole or the ozone valley over Qinghai-Xizang Plateau affect not only the temperature and circulation in the stratosphere, but also the temperature, pressure and wind fields in the troposphere, then lead to the global climate change.
Oceanic implications for climate change policy
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & POLICY 9:7-8 595-606
Under the United Nations convention on the law of the sea (1982), each participating country maintains exclusive economic and environmental rights within the oceanic region extending 200 nm from its territorial sea, known as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Although the ocean within each EEZ is undoubtedly an anthropogenic CO2 sink, it has been overlooked within international climate policy. In this paper I use an area-weighted scaling argument to show that the inclusion of the EEZ CO2 sink within national carbon accounts would have significant implications in tracking national greenhouse commitments to any future climate change policy initiative. The advantages and disadvantages for inclusion of the EEZ CO2 sink into global climate change policy are also explored. The most compelling argument for including the EEZ CO2 sink is that it would enhance the equity and resources among coastal nations to combat and adapt against future climate change that will inherently impact coastal nations more so than land locked nations. If included, the funds raised could be used for either monitoring or adaptive coastal infrastructure among the most vulnerable nations. On the other hand, the EEZ anthropogenic CO2 sink cannot be directly controlled by human activities and could be used as a disincentive for some developed nations to reduce fossil-fuel related greenhouse gas emissions. This may therefore dampen efforts to ultimately reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. In consideration of these arguments it is therefore suggested that an “EEZ clause” be added to Kyoto and any future international climate policy that explicitly excludes its use within national carbon accounts under these international climate frameworks. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Evidence for carbon dioxide and moisture interactions from the leaf cell up to global scales: Perspective on human-caused climate change
Alpert, P Niyogi, D Pielke, RA Eastman, JL Xue, YK Raman, S
GLOBAL AND PLANETARY CHANGE 54:1-2 202-208
It is of utmost interest to further understand the mechanisms behind the potential interactions or synergies between the greenhouse gases (GHG) forcing(s), particularly as represented by CO2, and water processes and through different climatic scales down to the leaf scale. Toward this goal, the factor separation methodology introduced by Stein and Alpert [Stein U. and Alpert, P. 1993. Factor separation in numerical simulations, J. Atmos. Sci., 50, 2107-2115.] that allows an explicit separation of atmospheric synergies among different factors, is employed. Three independent experiments carried out recently by the present authors, are reported here, all strongly suggest the existence of a significant CO2-water synergy in all the involved scales. The experiments employed a very wide range of up-to-date atmospheric models that complement the physics currently introduced in most Global Circulation Models (GCMs) for global climate change prediction. Three modeling experiments that go from the small/micro scale (leaf scale and soil moisture) to mesoscale (land-use change and CO2 effects) and to global scale (greenhouse gases and cloudiness) all show that synergies between water and CO2 are essential in predicting carbon assimilation, minimum daily temperature and the global Earth temperature, respectively. The study also highlights the importance of including the physics associated with carbon-water synergy which is mostly unresolved in global climate models suggesting that significant carbon-water interactions are not incorporated or at least well parameterized in current climate models. Hence, there is a need for integrative climate models. As shown in earlier studies, the climate involves physical, chemical and biological processes. To only include a subset of these processes limits the skill of local, regional and global models to simulate the real climate system. In addition, our results provide explicit determination of the direct and the interactive effect of the CO2 response on the terrestrial biosphere response. There is also an implicit scale interactive effect that can be deduced from the multiscale effects discussed in the three examples. Processes at each scale-leaf, regional and global will all synergistically contribute to increase the feedbacks-which can decrease or increase the overall system’s uncertainty depending on specific case/setup and needs to be examined in future coupled, multiscale studies. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Global warming is changing the dynamics of Arctic host-parasite systems
Kutz, SJ Hoberg, EP Polley, L Jenkins, EJ
PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 272:1581 2571-2576
Global climate change is altering the ecology of infectious agents and driving the emergence A disease in people, domestic animals, and wildlife. We present a novel, empirically based, predictive model for the impact of climate warming on development rates and availability of an important parasitic nematode of muskoxen in the Canadian Arctic, a region that is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Using this model, we show that warming in the Arctic may have already radically altered the transmission dynamics of this parasite, escalating infection pressure for muskoxen, and that this trend is expected to continue. This work establishes a foundation for understanding responses to climate change of other host-parasite systems, in the Arctic and globally.
Earlier winter wheat heading dates and warmer spring in the US Great Plains
Hu, Q Weiss, A Feng, S Baenziger, PS
AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST METEOROLOGY 135:1-4 284-290
Phenological change of plants is an indication of local and regional climate change, independent of the instrumentation records and associated bias/error. Although some phenological changes have been identified for native and perennial species and used to infer climate change in various regions of the world, little has been known for changes in agricultural plants/crops. In this study, heading or flowering dates of winter wheat cultivar Kharkof are examined from 70 years of data at six locations in the U.S. Great Plains. Results indicate a consistent trend of earlier heading or flowering dates across all sites, but rates of the trend differ (from 0.8 to 1.8 days per 10-year). Because the heading or flowering date is governed primarily by temperatures, the earlier heading or flowering dates indicate warming temperatures in the spring. Further examinations reveal increase in spring daily minimum temperatures. Findings of this study add a diverse species to the plant community for detecting the “fingerprint” of regional and global climate change. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Salt lakes in Australia: present problems and prognosis for the future
HYDROBIOLOGIA 552: 1-15
Australia is a land of salt lakes and despite low human population density, many lakes are adversely impacted by a range of factors. Secondary salinisation is the most pernicious force degrading lakes, especially in south-west Western Australia where up to 30% of the landscape is predicted to be affected. Mining also impinges on many salt lakes in this state, mainly through the dewatering of saline groundwater. Exploitation of groundwater for irrigation caused some lakes in Victoria, Australia, to dry, especially the significant Red Rock Complex. Global climate change will result in new water balances in endorheic lakes, with most having less water, particularly the seasonal lakes of southern Australia. This has already happened in Lake Corangamite, Victoria, but the prime reason is diversion of inflowing floodwater. Consequently, the lake has retreated and become salinised compromising its status as a Ramsar site. Various other lakes suffer from enhanced sedimentation, have introduced biota or their catchments are being disturbed to their detriment. Enlightened management should be able to maintain some important lakes in an acceptable condition, but, for most others, the future is bleak.
A conceptual model of ecological interactions in the mangrove estuaries of the Florida Everglades
Davis, SM Childers, DL Lorenz, JJ Wanless, HR Hopkins, TE
WETLANDS 25:4 832-842
A brackish water ecotone of coastal bays and lakes, mangrove forests, salt marshes, tidal creeks, and upland hammocks separates Florida Bay, Biscayne Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico from the freshwater Everglades. The Everglades mangrove estuaries are characterized by salinity gradients that vary spatially with topography and vary seasonally and inter-annually with rainfall, tide, and freshwater flow from the Everglades. Because of their location at the lower end of the Everglades drainage basin, Everglades mangrove estuaries have been affected by upstream water management practices that have altered the freshwater heads and flows and that affect salinity gradients. Additionally, interannual variation in precipitation patterns, particularly those caused to El Nino events, control freshwater inputs and salinity dynamics in these estuaries. Two major external drivers on this system are water management activities and global climate change. These drivers lead to two major ecosystem stressors: reduced freshwater flow volume and duration, and sea-level rise. Major ecological attributes include mangrove forest production, soil accretion, and resilience; coastal lake submerged aquatic vegetation; resident mangrove fish populations; wood stork (Mycteria americana) and roseate spoonbill (Platelea ajaja) nesting colonies; and estuarine crocodilian populations. Causal linkages between stressors and attributes include coastal transgression, hydroperiods, salinity gradients, and the “white zone” freshwater/estuarine interface. The functional estuary and its ecological attributes, as influenced by sea level and freshwater flow, must be viewed as spatially dynamic, with a possible near-term balancing of transgression but ultimately a long-term continuation of inland movement. Regardless of the spatio-temporal timing of this transgression, a salinity gradient supportive of ecologically functional Everglades mangrove estuaries will be required to maintain the integrity of the South Florida ecosystem.
Global warming and the mining of oceanic methane hydrate
Lai, CCA Dietrich, DE Bowman, MJ
TOPICS IN CATALYSIS 32:3-4 95-99
The impacts of global warming oil the environment. economy and society are presently receiving much attention by the international community. However, the extent to which anthropogenic factors are the main cause of global warming, is still being, debated. There are obviously large stakes associated with the validity of any theory since that will indicate what actions need to be taken to protect the human race’s only home-Earth. Most studies of global warming have investigated the rates and quantities of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In this paper, We focus on the earth’s carbon budget and the associated energy transfer between various components of the climate system. This research invokes some new concepts: (i) certain biochemical processes which strongly interact with geophysical processes in climate system: (ii) a hypothesis that internal processes in the oceans rather than in the atmosphere are Lit the center of global warming; (iii) chemical energy stored in biochemical processes call significantly affect ocean dynamics and therefore the climate system. Based oil those concepts. we propose a new hypothesis for global warming. We also propose I revolutionary strategy to deal with global climate change and provide domestic energy security at the same time. Recent ocean exploration indicates that huge deposits of oceanic methane hydrate deposits exist on the seafloor on continental margins. Methane hydrate transforms into water and methane gas when it dissociates. So, this potentially could provide the United States with energy security if the technology for mining in the 200-mile EEZ is developed and is economically viable. Further, methane hydrate is a relatively environmentally, benign, clean fuel. Such technology would help industry reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, I rid thus reduce global warming by harnessing, the energy from the deep sea.
Geographical potential of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile Mayr) in the face of global climate change
Roura-Pascual, N Suarez, AV Gomez, C Pons, P Touyama, Y Wild, AL Peterson, AT
PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON SERIES B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 271:1557 2527-2534
Determining the spread and potential geographical distribution of invasive species is integral to making invasion biology a predictive science. We assembled a dataset of over 1000 occurrences of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), one of the world’s worst invasive alien species. Native to central South America, Argentine ants are now found in many Mediterranean and subtropical climates around the world. We used this dataset to assess the species’ potential geographical and ecological distribution, and to examine changes in its distributional potential associated with global climate change, using techniques for ecological niche modelling. Models developed were highly predictive of the species’ overall range, including both the native distributional area and invaded areas worldwide. Despite its already widespread occurrence, L. humile has potential for further spread, with tropical coastal Africa and southeast Asia apparently vulnerable to invasion. Projecting ecological niche models onto four general circulation model scenarios of future (2050s) climates provided scenarios of the species’ potential for distributional expansion with warming climates: generally, the species was predicted to retract its range in tropical regions, but to expand at higher latitude areas.