Frontiers of Biogeography (FoB) is the scientific magazine of the International Biogeography Society (IBS, www.biogeography.org), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promotion of and public understanding of the biogeographical sciences. IBS launched FoB to provide an independent forum for biogeographical science, with the academic standards expected of a journal operated by and for an academic society.
Volume 6, Issue 2, 2014
Opinions, Perspectives & Reviews
Temperature-change trajectories are being used to identify the geographic barriers and thermal ‘cul-de-sacs’ that will limit the ability of many species to track climate change by migrating. We argue that there are many other potential barriers to species’ migrations. These include stable ecotones, discordant shifts in climatic variables, human land use, and species’ limited dispersal abilities. To illustrate our argument, for each 0.5° latitude/longitude grid cell of the Earth’s land surface, we mapped and tallied the number of cells for which future (2060–2080) climate represents an analog of the focal cell’s current climate. We compared results when only considering temperature with those for which both temperature and total annual precipitation were considered in concert. We also compared results when accounting for only geographic barriers (no cross-continental migration) with those involving both geographic and potential ecological barriers (no cross-biome migration). As expected, the number of future climate analogs available to each pixel decreased markedly with each added layer of complexity (e.g. the proportion of the Earth’s land surface without any available future climate analogs increased from 3% to more than 36% with the inclusion of precipitation and ecological boundaries). While including additional variables can increase model complexity and uncertainty, we must strive to incorporate the factors that we know will limit species’ ranges and migrations if we hope to predict the effects of climate change at a high-enough degree of accuracy to guide management decisions.
Fitting and comparing competing models of the species abundance distribution: assessment and prospect
A species abundance distribution (SAD) characterises patterns in the commonness and rarity of all species within an ecological community. As such, the SAD provides the theoretical foundation for a number of other biogeographical and macroecological patterns, such as the species–area relationship, as well as being an interesting pattern in its own right. While there has been resurgence in the study of SADs in the last decade, less focus has been placed on methodology in SAD research, and few attempts have been made to synthesise the vast array of methods which have been employed in SAD model evaluation. As such, our review has two aims. First, we provide a general overview of SADs, including descriptions of the commonly used distributions, plotting methods and issues with evaluating SAD models. Second, we review a number of recent advances in SAD model fitting and comparison. We conclude by providing a list of recommendations for fitting and evaluating SAD models. We argue that it is time for SAD studies to move away from many of the traditional methods available for fitting and evaluating models, such as sole reliance on the visual examination of plots, and embrace statistically rigorous techniques. In particular, we recommend the use of both goodness-of-fit tests and model-comparison analyses because each provides unique information which one can use to draw inferences.
Increasing food production without compromising biodiversity is one of the great challenges for humanity. The aims of my thesis were to define spatial priorities for biodiversity conservation and to evaluate conservation conflicts considering agricultural expansion in the 21st century. I also tested the effect of globalizing conservation efforts on both food production and biodiversity conservation. I found spatial conflicts between biodiversity conservation and agricultural expansion. However, incorporating agricultural expansion data into the spatial prioritization process can significantly alleviate conservation conflicts, by reducing spatial correlation between the areas under high impact of agriculture and the priority areas for conservation. Moreover, developing conservation blueprints at the global scale, instead of the usual approach based on national boundaries, can benefit both food production and biodiversity. Based on these findings I conclude that the incorporation of agricultural expansion as a key component for defining global conservation strategies should be added to the list of solutions for our cultivated planet.
Dorsal view of a Cypris bispinosa female, an ostracod species from the Eastern Iberian Peninsula. SEM photograph by Francesc Mesquita. See more on the accidental transcontinental dispersal of ostracods by biogeographers at Valls et al. correspondence in this issue of Frontiers of Biogeography.