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Publication - Professor Gareth Jones

    Should I stay or should I go? Climate change effects on the future of Neotropical savannah bats

    Citation

    Aguiar, LMS, Bernard, E, Ribeiro, V, Machado, RB & Jones, G, 2016, ‘Should I stay or should I go? Climate change effects on the future of Neotropical savannah bats’. Global Ecology and Conservation, vol 5., pp. 22-33

    Abstract

    Most extant species are survivors of the last climate change event 20,000 years ago. While past events took place over thousands of years, current climate change is occurring much faster, over a few decades. We modelled the potential distribution area of bat species in the Brazilian Cerrado, a Neotropical savannah, and assessed the potential impacts of climate change up to 2050 in two scenarios. First we evaluated what the impact on the distributions of bat species would be if they were unable to move to areas where climate conditions might be similar to current ones. The novelty of our paper is that, based on least-cost-path analyses, we identified potential corridors that could be managed now to mitigate potential impacts of climate change. Our results indicate that on average, in the future bat species would find similar climate conditions 281 km southeast from current regions. If bat species were not able to move to new suitable areas and were unable to adapt, then 36 species (31.6%) could lose ≥80% of their current distribution area, and five species will lose more than 98% of their distribution area in the Brazilian Cerrado. In contrast, if bat species are able to reach such areas, then the number of highly impacted species will be reduced to nine, with none of them likely to disappear from the Cerrado. We present measures that could be implemented immediately to mitigate future climate change impacts.

    Full details in the University publications repository