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Projected climate change threatens significant range contraction of Cochemiea halei (Cactaceae), an island endemic, serpentine adapted plant species at risk of extinction
  • Peter Breslin,
  • Martin Wojciechowski,
  • Fábio Albuquerque
Peter Breslin
Arizona State University
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Martin Wojciechowski
Arizona State University
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Fábio Albuquerque
Arizona State University
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Abstract

Aim: Threats faced by narrowly distributed endemic plant species in the face of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction and climate change exposure are especially severe for taxa on islands. We investigated the current and projected distribution and range changes of Cochemiea halei, an island endemic cactus. This taxon is of conservation concern, currently listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List and as a species of special concern under Mexican federal law. The goals of this study are to 1). identify the correlations between climate variables and current suitable habitat for C. halei; 2). determine if the species is a serpentine endemic or has a facultative relationship with ultramafic soils; 3). predict range changes of the species based on climate change scenarios. Location: The island archipelago in Bahía Magdalena on the Pacific coast, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Methods: We used temperature and precipitation variables at 30 arcsecond resolution and soil type, employing multiple species distribution modeling methods, to identify important climate and soil conditions driving current habitat suitability. The best model of current suitability is used to predict possible effects of four climate change scenarios based on best case to worst case representative concentration pathways, with projected climate data from two general circulation models, over two time periods. Main conclusions: The occurrence of the species is found to be strongly correlated with ultramafic soils. The most important climate predictor for habitat suitability is annual temperature range. The species is predicted to undergo range contractions from 21% to 53%, depending on the severity and duration of exposure to climate change. The broader implications for a wide range of narrowly adapted, threatened and endemic plant species indicate an urgent need for threat assessment based on habitat suitability and climate change modeling.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

22 Jan 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
24 Jan 2020Assigned to Editor
24 Jan 2020Submission Checks Completed
01 Feb 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
24 Feb 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Mar 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
27 Apr 20201st Revision Received
30 Apr 2020Submission Checks Completed
30 Apr 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
30 Apr 2020Assigned to Editor
31 May 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
03 Jul 20202nd Revision Received
04 Jul 2020Submission Checks Completed
04 Jul 2020Assigned to Editor
04 Jul 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Jul 2020Editorial Decision: Accept