Martínez-Freiría F , Argaz H, Fahd S, Brito JC


The identification of species-rich areas and their prognosticated turnover under climate change are crucial for the conservation of endemic taxa. This study aims to identify areas of reptile endemicity richness in a global biodiversity hot spot (Morocco) under current and future climatic conditions and to investigate the role of protected areas in biodiversity conservation under climate change. Species distribution models (SDM) were performed over the distribution of 21 endemic reptiles, combined to estimate current species richness at 1 × 1 km resolution and projected to years 2050 and 2080 according to distinct story lines and ensemble global circulation models, assuming unlimited and null dispersion ability. Generalized additive models were performed between species richness and geographic characteristics of 43 protected areas. SDM found precipitation as the most important factor related to current species distributions. Important reductions in future suitable areas were predicted for 50 % of species, and four species were identified as highly vulnerable to extinction. Drastic reductions in species-rich areas were predicted for the future, with considerable variability between years and dispersal scenarios. High turnover rates of species composition were predicted for eastern Morocco, whereas low values were forecasted for the Northern Atlantic coast and mountains. Species richness for current and future conditions was significantly related to the altitude and latitude of protected areas. Protected areas located in mountains and/or in the Northern Atlantic coast were identified as refugia, where population monitoring and conservation management is needed.


Journal: Naturwissenschaften

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-013-1088-4