Amphibian responses in the aftermath of extreme climate events

Authors: G Bucciarelli; M Clark; K S Delaney; S Riley; H Shaffer; R N Fisher; R L Honeycutt; L Kats
Contribution Number: 724


Climate change-induced extinctions are estimated to eliminate one in six known species by the end
of the century. One major factor that will contribute to these extinctions is extreme climatic events.
Here, we show the ecological impacts of recent record warm air temperatures and simultaneous peak
drought conditions in California. From 2008–2016, the southern populations of a wide-ranging endemic
amphibian (the California newt, Taricha torosa) showed a 20% reduction to mean body condition and
significant losses to variation in body condition linked with extreme climate deviations. However,
body condition in northern populations remained relatively unaffected during this period. Range-wide
population estimates of change to body condition under future climate change scenarios within the
next 50 years suggest that northern populations will mirror the loss of body condition recently observed
in southern populations. This change is predicated on latter 21st century climate deviations that
resemble recent conditions in Southern California. Thus, the ecological consequences of climate change
have already occurred across the warmer, drier regions of Southern California, and our results suggest
that predicted climate vulnerable regions in the more mesic northern range likely will not provide
climate refuge for numerous amphibian communities.

Publication details
Published Date: 2020-02-25
Outlet/Publisher: Scientific Reports 10:3409
Media Format: .PDF

ARMI Organizational Units:
Southwest, Southern California - Biology
Climate Change; Drought; Species and their Ecology; Stressors
Place Names:
California; Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
climate; demographics; drought; extreme events; hydroperiod; stressors
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