Name: Said AN

Biodeserts supervisor: Brito JC

Co-supervisor: Heinrich Reck

Title: Biogeographical analyses of the distribution of large endangered mammals in the Sahara-Sahel ecosystem in the 20th century

Institution: University of Kiel

Status: Completed



For millennia, humans have reshaped the form and process of ecosystems across the terres-trial biosphere, both intentionally and unintentionally and North African deserts are not an ex-ception. In the last century, a collapse of the Sahara’s megafauna was reported but without comprehensive analysis of the causes and patterns of biodiversity loss in that ecosystem. Ensemble forecasting technique was used to study the changes in the species’ range param-eters and niche traits of seven large mammals (one carnivore and six antelopes) in the last century in the Sahelo-Saharan desert. More than 50 % of the species’ suitable range is lost, dramatic changes happen in the habitat and the topoclimatic niche for some of the study spe-cies; mountain specialist species have lost their high altitude habitat, while open savannah specialist is contemporarily localized in mountainous range. Localization in sink habitat and changes in the ecological niche and habitat of the study species might have consequences on the ecological adaptability of the species to future climatic changes.