Objective 3. Predict range and range shifts (present-day range, explain recent and past declines, and predict range shifts under different climate change models).

The four species of the spadefoot toad genus Pelobates are distributed over parts of Europe, North Africa, Caucasus and the Middle East. Their ranges are mostly allopatric, except for P. fuscus and P. syriacus whose ranges overlap over a narrow strip in Dagestan region and in the Balkans, between the Black Sea Coast and along the Danube until the Iron Gates. This pattern has led us to investigate what limited the range overlap of the two species (climate or competition), and how will their ranges modify under future climate change scenarios. To do so, we computed climatic suitability models using MaxEnt and projected their distribution onto future.

Pelobates Maxent present

The present climatic niche was slightly extended outside the known geographic range, in the Caucasus and the Balkans, south for P. fuscus and north for P. syriacus. The species’ absence from climatically suitable areas supports the hypothesis that dispersal barriers and competition limit their geographic range. We revealed that western part of the actual range of P. fuscus is projected to preserve the climatic suitability towards the end of the century and Dagestan Region will act as climatic refugia in the east. Less favorable climate is expected in central Europe. Across latitudinal gradient, we predicted more suitable environmental conditions for both species at higher latitudes. P. syriacus niche tended to go northwards in the Balkans, seeming to reduce its climatic suitability in the southern part of its range.

Copyright 2011-2018. Facultatea de Științe ale Naturii și Științe Agricole - Universitatea Ovidius Constanța.

Premium Theme for Drupal 7.x created by DoubleMThemes + Back to Top