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Quantifying climate sensitivity and climate-driven change in North American amphibian communities

October 1, 2018

Changing climate will impact species’ ranges only when environmental variability directly impacts the demography of local populations. However, measurement of demographic responses to climate change has largely been limited to single species and locations. Here we show that amphibian communities are responsive to climatic variability, using >500,000 time-series observations for 81 species across 86 North American study areas. The effect of climate on local colonization and persistence probabilities varies among eco-regions and depends on local climate, species life-histories, and taxonomic classification. We found that local species richness is most sensitive to changes in water availability during breeding and changes in winter conditions. Based on the relationships we measure, recent changes in climate cannot explain why local species richness of North American amphibians has rapidly declined. However, changing climate does explain why some populations are declining faster than others. Our results provide important insights into how amphibians respond to climate and a general framework for measuring climate impacts on species richness.

Publication Year 2018
Title Quantifying climate sensitivity and climate-driven change in North American amphibian communities
DOI 10.1038/s41467-018-06157-6
Authors David A.W. Miller, Evan H. Campbell Grant, Erin L. Muths, Staci M. Amburgey, M. J. Adams, Maxwell B. Joseph, J. Hardin Waddle, Pieter T.J. Johnson, Maureen E. Ryan, Benedikt R. Schmidt, Daniel L. Calhoun, Courtney L. Davis, Robert N. Fisher, David M. Green, Blake R. Hossack, Tracy A.G. Rittenhouse, Susan C. Walls, Larissa L. Bailey, Sam S. Cruickshank, Gary M. Fellers, Thomas A. Gorman, Carola A. Haas, Ward Hughson, David S. Pilliod, Steven J. Price, Andrew M. Ray, Walter Sadinski, Daniel Saenz, William J. Barichivich, Adrianne B. Brand, Cheryl S. Brehme, Rosi Dagit, Katy S. Delaney, Brad M. Glorioso, Lee B. Kats, Patrick M. Kleeman, Christopher Pearl, Carlton J. Rochester, Seth P. D. Riley, Mark F. Roth, Brent Sigafus
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature Communications
Index ID 70199815
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosys Science Center; Fort Collins Science Center; Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center; Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Southwest Biological Science Center; Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Western Ecological Research Center; South Atlantic Water Science Center; Wetland and Aquatic Research Center; John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis