Master's Theses

Department

Biology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Abstract

Climate change threatens biodiversity; in particular, species with narrow distributions and specific habitat requirements. The Great Basin provides an excellent model system to evaluate the effects of climate change on species with isolated distributions and specific habitat requirements. I have evaluated the McDonald and Brown (1992) model that examined the effects of climate change on montane mammals of the Great Basin based on its underlying assumptions and model predictions. I have modeled the distributions of twelve montane mammal species found in the Great Basin and identified potential local extinctions by using maximum entropy modeling (Maxent) for two emission scenarios of changing climate for the year 2050: a minimum (b2a) and a maximum (a2a). Overall, a majority of Great Basin mammal species examined are predicted to experience reductions in distribution ranging from approximately 2-64% for a minimum emission scenario (b2a) and 39-79% for a maximum emission scenario (a2a). In particular, there was agreement between my model predictions and the MacDonald and Brown (1992) model predictions for four local extinctions for a minimum emission scenario (b2a), and five local extinctions for a maximum emission scenario (a2a). Instances in which model predictions relative to species distributions and abundances are consistent might provide a basis on which conservationists can develop generalities about biotic responses to changing environmental conditions. By understanding what environmental factors influence species occurrence, we can infer how climate change is likely to affect biodiversity and their spatial distributions, possibly allowing us to better manage and conserve populations.

Advisor

Dr. Rob Channell

Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Thesis

Rights

© 2010 Georgina Jacquez

Comments

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