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Trends Ecol Evol. 2014 May;29(5):260-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2014.02.009. Epub 2014 Mar 20.

Unifying niche shift studies: insights from biological invasions.

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland; Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Botany, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zürich, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland.


Assessing whether the climatic niche of a species may change between different geographic areas or time periods has become increasingly important in the context of ongoing global change. However, approaches and findings have remained largely controversial so far, calling for a unification of methods. Here, we build on a review of empirical studies of invasion to formalize a unifying framework that decomposes niche change into unfilling, stability, and expansion situations, taking both a pooled range and range-specific perspective on the niche, while accounting for climatic availability and climatic analogy. This framework provides new insights into the nature of climate niche shifts and our ability to anticipate invasions, and may help in guiding the design of experiments for assessing causes of niche changes.

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