Climate-driven range extension of Amphistegina (protista, foraminiferida) : models of current and predicted future ranges
Langer, Martin R.
Weinmann, Anna E.
Bernhard, Joan M.
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Species-range expansions are a predicted and realized consequence of global climate change. Climate warming and the poleward widening of the tropical belt have induced range shifts in a variety of marine and terrestrial species. Range expansions may have broad implications on native biota and ecosystem functioning as shifting species may perturb recipient communities. Larger symbiont-bearing foraminifera constitute ubiquitous and prominent components of shallow water ecosystems, and range shifts of these important protists are likely to trigger changes in ecosystem functioning. We have used historical and newly acquired occurrence records to compute current range shifts of Amphistegina spp., a larger symbiont-bearing foraminifera, along the eastern coastline of Africa and compare them to analogous range shifts currently observed in the Mediterranean Sea. The study provides new evidence that amphisteginid foraminifera are rapidly progressing southwestward, closely approaching Port Edward (South Africa) at 31°S. To project future species distributions, we applied a species distribution model (SDM) based on ecological niche constraints of current distribution ranges. Our model indicates that further warming is likely to cause a continued range extension, and predicts dispersal along nearly the entire southeastern coast of Africa. The average rates of amphisteginid range shift were computed between 8 and 2.7 km year−1, and are projected to lead to a total southward range expansion of 267 km, or 2.4° latitude, in the year 2100. Our results corroborate findings from the fossil record that some larger symbiont-bearing foraminifera cope well with rising water temperatures and are beneficiaries of global climate change.
© The Author(s), 2013. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS ONE 8 (2013): e54443, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054443.
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