CESAB – Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity
Background/Question/Methods There is now compelling evidence that species on land, freshwater, and sea are responding to climate change by shifting their ranges, with important consequences for ecosystem functioning and human well‐being. These changes in distribution are expected to result from both the sensitivity of species to climate exposure and their capacity to adapt to these environmental changes. Several bodies of theory suggest that different traits may contribute to range shifts processes at the trailing (i.e. persistence) and leading (i.e. colonization) edges of species distribution, thus providing testable hypotheses regarding the underlying causal mechanisms. Yet, evidence to date suggests that ecological and/or life history traits provide limited generalizable insights regarding the variability in range shifts among species over the last century.
Results/Conclusions Here, we will explore how accounting for additional factors such as species-specific climate exposure, habitat connectivity and evolutionary constraints in range-limiting traits could advance our understanding of range shift processes across taxa and realms, and improve the predictive utility of trait-based approaches for conservation and management. We will discuss how BioShifts ̶ a unique database of >30,000 range shifts compiled from the literature for >12,000 plant and animal species ̶ could be leveraged to tackle these challenges and inform our ability to better anticipate the spatial redistribution of biodiversity under climate change.