Future distribution of tundra refugia in northern Alaska

Nature Climate Change
By: , and 

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Abstract

Climate change in the Arctic is a growing concern for natural resource conservation and management as a result of accelerated warming and associated shifts in the distribution and abundance of northern species. We introduce a predictive framework for assessing the future extent of Arctic tundra and boreal biomes in northern Alaska. We use geo-referenced museum specimens to predict the velocity of distributional change into the next century and compare predicted tundra refugial areas with current land-use. The reliability of predicted distributions, including differences between fundamental and realized niches, for two groups of species is strengthened by fossils and genetic signatures of demographic shifts. Evolutionary responses to environmental change through the late Quaternary are generally consistent with past distribution models. Predicted future refugia overlap managed areas and indicate potential hotspots for tundra diversity. To effectively assess future refugia, variable responses among closely related species to climate change warrants careful consideration of both evolutionary and ecological histories.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Future distribution of tundra refugia in northern Alaska
Series title Nature Climate Change
DOI 10.1038/nclimate1926
Volume 3
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB
Description 8 p.
First page 931
Last page 938
Country United States
State Alaska
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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