South African mouse shrews (Myosorex) feel the heat: using species distribution models (SDMs) and IUCN Red List criteria to flag extinction risks due to climate change.
Format Extent2050260 bytes
MetadataShow full item record
Five species of mouse or forest shrews (Myosorex) are endemic to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, four of which (Myosorex varius, Myosorex cafer, Myosorex longicaudatus and Myosorex cf. tenuis) are associated with montane or temperate grassland, fynbos and/or forest habitats while a fifth (Myosorex sclateri) is associated with lowland subtropical forests. Due to their small size, specialised habitat, low dispersal capacity, high metabolism and sensitivity to temperature extremes, we predicted that, particularly for montane species, future climate change should have a negative impact on area of occupancy (AOO) and ultimately extinction risks. Species distribution models (SDMs) indicated general declines in AOO of three species by 2050 under the A1b and A2 climate change scenarios (M. cafer, M. varius, M. longicaudatus) while two species (M. sclateri and M. cf. tenuis) remained unchanged (assuming no dispersal) or increased their AOO (assuming dispersal). While temperate species such as M. varius appear to be limited by temperature maxima (preferring cooler temperatures), the subtropical species M. sclateri appears to be limited by temperature minima (preferring warmer temperatures). Evidence for declines in AOO informed the uplisting (to a higher category of threat) of the Red List status of four Myosorex species to either vulnerable or endangered as part of a separate regional International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessment.
- RESEARCH: Taylor, P