Mutualism influences species distribution predictions for a bromeliad-breeding anuran under climate change

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Vasconcelos, Tiago Silveira [UNESP]
Antonelli, Caio Pastana [UNESP]
Napoli, Marcelo Felgueiras

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Ecological niche models, or species distribution models, have been widely used to identify potentially suitable areas for species in future climate change scenarios. However, there are inherent errors to these models due to their inability to evaluate species occurrence influenced by non-climatic factors. With the intuit to improve the modelling predictions for a bromeliad-breeding treefrog (Phyllodytes melanomystax, Hylidae), we investigate how the climatic suitability of bromeliads influences the distribution model for the treefrog in the context of baseline and 2050 climate change scenarios. We used point occurrence data on the frog and the bromeliad (Vriesea procera, Bromeliaceae) to generate their predicted distributions based on baseline and 2050 climates. Using a consensus of five algorithms, we compared the accuracy of the models and the geographic predictions for the frog generated from two modelling procedures: (i) a climate-only model for P.melanomystax and V.procera; and (ii) a climate-biotic model for P.melanomystax, in which the climatic suitability of the bromeliad was jointly considered with the climatic variables. Both modelling approaches generated strong and similar predictive power for P.melanomystax, yet climate-biotic modelling generated more concise predictions, particularly for the year 2050. Specifically, because the predicted area of the bromeliad overlaps with the predictions for the treefrog in the baseline climate, both modelling approaches produce reasonable similar predicted areas for the anuran. Alternatively, due to the predicted loss of northern climatically suitable areas for the bromeliad by 2050, only the climate-biotic models provide evidence that northern populations of P.melanomystax will likely be negatively affected by 2050.



Atlantic Forest, biotic interactions, climate change, Phyllodytes melanomystax, species distribution models

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Austral Ecology. Hoboken: Wiley, v. 42, n. 7, p. 869-877, 2017.