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Louthan, Allison [1], Baumgardner, Aaron [2], Ehrlen, Johan [3], Dahlgren, Johan [4], Loomis, Alex [5], Morris, Wiliam [5].

Sensitivity to abiotic and biotic drivers across species ranges.

Ecological theory suggests that abiotic factors, such as temperature and precipitation, set species’ high-latitude range limits, whereas biotic factors, such as parasitism, predation, or mutualists, are key determinants of species’ low-latitude range limits. This idea is important both for our understanding of species distributions and global patterns in biodiversity, as well as for predicting shifts in species’ ranges with climate change. Here, we use a meta-analysis of abiotic and biotic driver effects on plant population growth rate, coupled with range maps derived from occurrence records from The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), to test whether the importance of abiotic and biotic drivers varies systematically with position in a species’ range or distance from climatic niche centroid. At the level of the geographic range, we test the hypothesis that populations near poleward range edges are more sensitive to abiotic drivers, but less sensitive to biotic drivers, than are populations near equatorward range edges. At the level of the climatic niche, we test whether populations in more-stressful conditions (defined here as colder or drier than the conditions at the niche centroid) are more strongly impacted by aboitic drivers, but more weakly by biotic drivers, than are populations in less-stressful conditions (warmer or wetter than niche centroid). Overall, abiotic (e.g., temperature and precipitation), biotic (e.g., mutualists, herbivores, or competitors), and anthropogenic (e.g., land use change or carbon dioxide levels) drivers’ impacts on population growth rate do not differ significantly from one another (P = 0.21). Further, the relative impact of abiotic v. biotic drivers does not vary with latitude (P = 0.62), in contrast to the commonly- held assumption that biotic drivers are more important in tropical areas, and abiotic drivers are more important in temperate areas. In spite of the lack of support for broad-scale variation in the importance of abiotic v. biotic drivers, we do see support for the idea that proximity to equatorward v. poleward range limit matters. Namely, populations nearer to poleward edges are more responsive to temperature and precipitation than are equatorward populations (with the converse true for biotic drivers). By contrast, position in climatic niche is a poor predictor of impacts of abiotic v. biotic drivers, likely because different species consider different conditions ‘stressful.’ These findings have important implications for our understanding of what determines species range limits, as well as how best to predict shifts in species distributions with changes in both climate and the distributions of interacting species.

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1 - Kansas State University
2 - University of Kansas
3 - Lilla Frescativ├Ągen 5, Stockholm, SE 10691, Sweden
4 - University of Southern Denmark
5 - Duke University

range limits.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECO9, Ecology: Species Ranges and Distributions
Location: /
Date: Friday, July 23rd, 2021
Time: 4:15 PM(EDT)
Number: ECO9006
Abstract ID:1103
Candidate for Awards:None

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