Resolving a conservation dichotomy: minimising species exposure to climate change or preserving their adaptation potential?

Proponente Moreno Di Marco - Professore Associato
Sottosettore ERC del proponente del progetto
Componenti gruppo di ricerca
Componente Categoria
Carlo Rondinini Tutor di riferimento

One of the most alarming consequences of global biodiversity decline is species extinction, which can alter the provision of ecosystem services and have potential dramatic effects on our economy and well-being. While human-driven extinction rates are already unsustainably high, there is a risk that climate change will further exacerbate this crisis without an adequate conservation strategy in place. In other words, there is now urgent need to anticipate species decline under scenarios of global change, rather than reacting to these declines when they are already occurring. One of the key ecological traits that allows adaptation to environmental change is the breadth of a species' niche - i.e. the set of environmental conditions in which a species can persist. Yet, this important information is often ignored in conservation planning application, which focus on areas of predicted climatic stability. The goal of this project is to inform conservation applications that maximise the protection of species' climatic niches while minimising their exposure to future climate change. This will be achieved by disentangling the historical impacts of humans, climate change, and life history on the climatic niches of terrestrial mammals, to identify the key determinants of past niche change. This information will be used to identify species which are expected to be resilient to future climate change, and those that are unlikely to adapt to it. The project focusses on global terrestrial mammals, a data-rich group currently facing significant extinction rates, to develop and theoretically ground a conservation planning approach that will be also transferable to other taxa.

LS8_2, LS8_1

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