Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Near-Extinct African Amphibians ‘Invisible’ Under Climate Change

September 8, 2014

Caron Lett, University of York

An international team of researchers has found that the majority of threatened species are ‘invisible’ when using modern methods to predict species distributions under climate change.

Using African amphibians as a case study, the researchers found that more than 90 percent of the species listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are omitted by the most popular tools for species distribution modelling.

The study, led by researchers from the Universities of York and Copenhagen and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in Cambridge, is published in the journal Diversity and Distributions.

Dr. Philip Platts, lead author and Research Fellow with York’s Environment Department, said: “Modern methods to predict species distributions under climate change typically leave out rare and threatened species – the ones that currently underpin global spending on conservation. This is because those species, almost by definition, have too few data for their spatial distributions to be modelled using standard tools. We looked at whether missing them out makes a difference for conservation priority setting, either now or under future climates.”


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