COS 90-4 - Synergistic effects of changing temperature and community composition on local colonization and extinction dynamics of tropical mammals

Friday, August 12, 2016: 8:40 AM
305, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Lydia Beaudrot, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Miguel A. Acevedo, Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico, PR, Jean-Philippe Lessard, Biology, Concordia University, Alex Zvoleff, Moore Center for Science, Conservation International, Arlington, VA and Jorge Ahumada, TEAM Network, Moore Center for Science, Conservation International

It is no longer debated that climate change is affecting the distribution of life on Earth. However, we still lack a thorough understanding of the ecological processes underpinning its effects. Whereas much research has focused on how the changing abiotic environment affects population persistence, there is increasing recognition that interactions among species can also buffer or even exacerbate the effects of climate change. Moreover, most research documenting recent or predicted shifts in species has focused on describing distributions patterns without explicitly accounting for local colonization and extinction dynamics--the underlying processes that generate these shifts. Here, we utilize a dynamic occupancy model that explicitly accounts for the effects of both abiotic and biotic factors on the local colonization-extinction dynamics of species along elevation gradients around the tropics. 


We analyzed the dynamics of 51 populations of 43 species of mammals from 7 tropical forests that were surveyd through standardized camera trap protocol. Local extinction and colonization dynamics of the majority of species (83.3%) during a period of 4 – 8 years were better predicted by temperature and/or community composition than by a null model, suggesting an importance of both climate and species interactions in tropical mammal population dynamics. Furthermore, 9 species exhibited significant elevation range shifts that were related to significant interactions between temperature and local community composition. Despite the buffering effects of homothermy, tropical mammals are already exhibiting significant responses to temperature changes, which suggests that threats from climate change are imminent and must be taken into account in conservation planning.