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I am a third year NERC-funded PhD
candidate studying the impacts of
climate on biogeographical changes
across a wide range of taxa
Contact me: [email protected]
@SuzannaCMason
Geographical range margins of a wide range of British
taxonomic groups continue to shift polewards
Suzanna
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1,2
Mason ,
Georgina
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Palmer ,
Simon
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Gillings ,
Jane
Why is this research
important?
Problem: British species are changing their
distributions as the environment is altered by
climate change, agriculture, pollution and
urbanisation.
Tom
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Oliver
Study area: Mainland Britain,
divided into 10km squares (right).
Time periods: Change in distribution
...then we need to understand
variation in species’
biogeographical responses to
these changes
Before these biogeographical responses can be
explained, first they must be described.
Richard
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Fox ,
Methods
If we are to protect species as
the climate and environment
changes...
Very little is known about how different taxa
respond to these factors, and how responses
vary within and between taxa.
Chris
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Thomas ,
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Introduction
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Hill ,
was measured between two intervals:
Interval 1: 1966-1975 and 1986-1995
Interval 2: 1986-1995 and 2001-2010
Taxa selection: 21 taxa were selected using UK recording scheme
data, held at the Biological Records Centre in Oxfordshire, UK.
In total,
the data analysed included:
Response variable: Northern range margin shift.
21 taxa
1573 species
Over 18 million records
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Northern
Range Margin Shift
We calculated range shift as
the change in species'
northern range margin over
an interval.
Species' northern range
margin was calculated as the
mean latitude of the 10 most
northerly occupied 10km
squares.
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Interval 1
Interval 2
Interval 1
& Interval 2
(1966-1975
and 1986-1995)
Results
(1986-1995
and 2001-2010)
Northwards shift
The graph on the right
shows that many different
taxa have made significant
mean shifts northwards:
however, there was variation
within and between
different taxa.
The numbers in brackets ()
indicate the number of
species in each group, which
varied between intervals.
(A) Contains allied species
The three maps below show the
distributions and northern range
margins, in each time period, of the
small skipper butterfly
(Thymelicus sylvestris), pictured right
* Shift is significantly different from 0 (one-sample t-test)
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Conclusions
633km
This work shows that British species
are shifting their northern range
margins at variable rates, showing
heterogeneity within and between
taxonomic groups.
554km
485km
Implications for policy
Policy-makers need to be aware
that not all species respond to
climate change in the same way,
and the risks posed by climate
change will vary between species.
Time period 1
Time period 2
Time period 3
(1966-1975)
(1986-1995)
(2001-2010)
WHY is data on range shifts of multiple taxa
important for ecology, conservation and policy?
Future work
Our next step is to investigate what
environmental or biotic factors
influence rate of northern range
margin shift.
Read this Open Access
paper:
Mason et al. (2015) Geographical
range margins of many taxa
continue to shift polewards
Biological Journal of the Linnean
Society, 115, 3, 586–597
BECAUSE how species respond to environmental
change will impact how we can protect them.