Erosion of lizard diversity by climate change and altered thermal niches

Barry Sinervo, Fausto Mendez-de-la-Cruz, Donald B Miles, Benoit Heulin, Elizabeth Bastiaans, Maricela Villagran-Santa Cruz, Rafael Lara-Resendiz, Norberto Martinez-Mendez, Martha Lucia Calderon-Espinosa, Rubi Nelsi Meza-Lazaro, Hector Gadsden, Luciana Avila, Mariana Morando, Ignacio De La Riva, Pedro Sepulveda, Carlos Rocha, Nora Ibarguengoytia, Cesar Puntriano, Manuel Massot, Virginie LepetzTuala Oksanen, David Gregory Chapple, Aaron Bauer, William Branch, Jean Clobert, Jack Sites

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1078 Citations (Scopus)


It is predicted that climate change will cause species extinctions and distributional shifts in coming decades, but data to validate these predictions are relatively scarce. Here, we compare recent and historical surveys for 48 Mexican lizard species at 200 sites. Since 1975, 12 of local populations have gone extinct. We verified physiological models of extinction risk with observed local extinctions and extended projections worldwide. Since 1975, we estimate that 4 of local populations have gone extinct worldwide, but by 2080 local extinctions are projected to reach 39 worldwide, and species extinctions may reach 20 . Global extinction projections were validated with local extinctions observed from 1975 to 2009 for regional biotas on four other continents, suggesting that lizards have already crossed a threshold for extinctions caused by climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894 - 899
Number of pages6
Issue number5980
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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