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Range expansions across ecoregions: interactions of climate change, physiology and genetic diversity

Record type: Article

Aim
Climate change is expected to drive range shifts among a wide array of organisms. Non-indigenous species (NIS) provide a unique opportunity to observe the establishment of range boundaries in a way that cannot be directly seen for native species. Recent studies have indicated that climate change facilitates biological invasions at local scales. However, the generality of these effects is unclear, as there is a dearth of comparative studies that assess how rapid environmental change affects species ranges across taxa and biogeographic provinces.

Location
The South African coast and other coastlines across the world.

Methods
We first studied the distribution of shallow-marine benthic organisms along the South African coastline and analysed the global distribution of NIS. We then obtained DNA sequence data from a suite of co-occurring NIS from along the studied coastline and compared these data with available genetic information from other regions of the world. Subsequently, we conducted physiological experiments to assess how thermal tolerance was related to species distribution. Finally, we analysed ship-based seawater temperature records and compared these with past changes in the range size and abundance of NIS. These records were used to estimate shipping intensity and NIS propagule pressure.

Results
We found that NIS with a variety of thermal tolerances and distributions have expanded their ranges and increased in abundance as seawater temperature regimes have changed. We found little interannual variation in shipping transport intensity. Most haplotypes of the studied NIS in South Africa were shared with other regions.

Main conclusions
This study provides empirical evidence that NIS, regardless of their thermal tolerance, range size and genetic variability, are expanding their ranges and increasing in abundance. This trend is uncorrelated with levels of human-mediated NIS transport but concurrent with changes in seawater temperature, which suggests that climate change fosters the spread and abundance of NIS across multiple spatial scales.

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Citation

Rius, M., Clusella-Trullas, S., McQuaid, C.D., Navarro, R., Griffiths, C.L., Matthee, C.A., von der Heyden, S. and Turon, X. (2014) Range expansions across ecoregions: interactions of climate change, physiology and genetic diversity Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23, (1), pp. 76-88. (doi:10.1111/geb.12105).

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 13 September 2013
Published date: January 2014
Keywords: ascidians, biogeography, ecotones, invasive species, naturalization, non-native, performance curve, population expansion, thermal sensitivity
Organisations: Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 355036
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/355036
ISSN: 1466-822X
PURE UUID: 761de864-cc2c-4c47-adcb-47397522dfb3

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Jul 2013 14:52
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 03:50

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Contributors

Author: M. Rius
Author: S. Clusella-Trullas
Author: C.D. McQuaid
Author: R. Navarro
Author: C.L. Griffiths
Author: C.A. Matthee
Author: S. von der Heyden
Author: X. Turon

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