Effects of climate change on species turnover and body mass frequency distributions of South African bird communities

Bruno A. Walther, Adriaan van Niekerk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change will lead to substantial shifts in species distributions. Most of the predictions of shifting distributions rely on modelling future distributions with ecological niche models. We used these models to investigate (i) the expected species turnover, loss and gain within bird communities of four South African biomes and (ii) the expected changes in the body mass frequency distributions of these communities. We used distributional data of the Southern African Bird Atlas Project, current climate data and two scenarios of future climate change for 2050 to build ensemble models of bird distributions. Our results indicate that future species loss, gain and turnover within the four biomes will be considerable. Climate change will also have statistically significant effects on body mass frequency distributions, and these effects differ substantially depending on the severity of future climate change. We discuss the possible ecological effects of these predicted changes on ecosystem interactions and functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalAfrican Journal of Ecology
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2015

Keywords

  • Birds (Aves)
  • Body mass frequency distributions
  • Climate change
  • Community ecology
  • Ecological niche models
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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