Daniella Rabaiotti
Biodiversity and Ecology
Conservation, Climate change, Biodiversity, Environment policy, Global change
PhD Research

Projecting climate change impacts for a tropical carnivore: from individual to species

Climate change is one of the greatest threats to species globally, and is expected to cause shifts in behaviour, population dynamics and ranges of species worldwide. Predicting these species shifts is essential in order to mitigate against climate change. A common method for making these predictions is to use a Species Distribution Model, where observed locations of the species are correlated with environmental conditions, allowing projections of where else the species might be expected to occur. Mechanistic models, which incorporate species characteristics such as behavioural and reproductive responses to climatic variables, are expected to provide better predictive power, however. I intend to compare correlative and mechanistic species distribution models, using African wild dog responses to climate change as a model system. The African wild dog is an endangered species, today restricted to 7% of its historical range. New links between temperature, behaviour and breeding success suggest that the species may be particularly sensitive to temperature increases. Using correlative and mechanistic models to project the future distribution and status of this species I will identify priority areas for wild dog conservation, and assess whether detailed knowledge of species ecology and behaviour is required to plan conservation action under climate change.
Rosie Woodroffe
Richard Pearson
Bristol University
Biodiversity and Conservation
Leeds University
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