Climate-driven range contractions are more widespread among terrestrial than marine taxa

Dr Jonathan Lenoir1, Dr Romain Bertrand2, Dr Lise Comte3, PhD Luana Bourgeaud4, Dr Tarek Hattab5, Dr Jérôme Murienne4, Dr Gaël Grenouillet4

1UR “Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés” (EDYSAN), UMR7058 CNRS, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France, 2Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling, Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station, UMR5321 CNRS, Université Toulouse III, Toulouse, France, 3School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, 4Laboratoire Evolution & Diversité Biologique (EDB), UMR5174 Université de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, CNRS, IRD, UPS, Toulouse, France, 5MARBEC, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Sète, France

Species distribution changes associated with human-mediated climate change have important consequences on ecosystems and human well-being. Despite mounting evidence, our knowledge of the redistribution of life on Earth is still incomplete with only 0.6% of the described biodiversity on Earth for which range shifts have been documented. Compiling a global database of 30,534 range shift estimates across both terrestrial and marine systems and covering 12,415 taxa, 56 taxonomic classes and 20 phyla, we show a clear taxonomic bias in the scientific literature to report more range shifts for mobile ectotherms, iconic endotherms and seed-bearing plants. Similarly, a strong spatial unbalance is noticeable towards the most developed regions in the World. Comparing the direction of biological versus isotherm shifts as climate warms, our database reveals complex spatial patterns in which species range shifts do not conform to expectations based on isotherm shifts solely. Finally, by running several linear mixed-effects models arranged in a full factorial design, each accounting for different methodological and climatic attributes among studies, we report more rapid shifts at the trailing edge, averaging 8.4 km/yr poleward across land and sea and 7.4 m/yr uphill in elevation, than at the centre or the leading edge of species ranges. This trend is widespread among terrestrial taxa while the magnitude of range shifts is greater but more variable in marine systems. Our results suggest that the range of terrestrial taxa is shrinking, likely due to local


I’m a CNRS researcher in Ecology & Biostatistics broadly interested in the ecological dynamics associated with spatial and temporal global changes, with particular emphasis on the biotic responses to contemporary climate change. My research interests range from broad-scale patterns of biodiversity and long-term changes in species distribution to finer-scale and shorter-term changes in community composition.

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