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Am Nat. 2006 Jun;167(6):853-66.

Combining population-dynamic and ecophysiological models to predict climate-induced insect range shifts.

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Hundreds of species are shifting their ranges in response to recent climate warming. To predict how continued climate warming will affect the potential, or “bioclimatic range,” of a skipper butterfly, we present a population‐dynamic model of range shift in which population growth is a function of temperature. We estimate the parameters of this model using previously published data for Atalopedes campestris. Summer and winter temperatures affect population growth rate independently in this species and therefore interact as potential range‐limiting factors. Our model predicts a two‐phase response to climate change; one range‐limiting factor gradually becomes dominant, even if warming occurs steadily along a thermally linear landscape. Whether the range shift accelerates or decelerates and whether the number of generations per year at the range edge increases or decreases depend on whether summer or winter warms faster. To estimate the uncertainty in our predictions of range shift, we use a parametric bootstrap of biological parameter values. Our results show that even modest amounts of data yield predictions with reasonably small confidence intervals, indicating that ecophysiological models can be useful in predicting range changes. Nevertheless, the confidence intervals are sensitive to regional differences in the underlying thermal landscape and the warming scenario.

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