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Detection and attribution of the effects of climate change on bat distributions over the last 50 years

Abstract

We evaluated the relationship between changes in bat distribution and climate in China over the past 50 years and examined whether the changes could be attributed to climate change. We used long-term distribution records for 17 bat species together with grey relational analysis, the fuzzy-set classification technique, a consistency index, and attribution methods. Over the past 50 years, bat species distributions have primarily shifted northward, and most of these changes are correlated with the thermal index. In response to climatic factors over the past 50 years, the ranges and distribution centers of particular bat species have shifted to the north or to the west. The observed and predicted changes in the distributions were highly consistent for certain species. Changes in the northern limit or the center of the distribution can be attributed to climate change for nearly half of the species studied.

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Acknowledgments

The work described in this paper was substantially supported by a project of the National Science and Technology Support Program of China (2012BAC19B06). We thank those who contributed to discussions of the ideas presented in this paper. Instructive comments from the anonymous reviewers greatly improved this manuscript. The authors thank Pr. Shaohong Wu, Dr. Tao Pan and Dr. Jie Pan for providing climate data and Dr. Qiaofu Zhou for ArcGIS mapping.

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Correspondence to Jianguo Wu.

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Wu, J. Detection and attribution of the effects of climate change on bat distributions over the last 50 years. Climatic Change 134, 681–696 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-015-1543-7

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Keywords

  • Consistency Index
  • Grey Relational Analysis
  • Eastern Boundary
  • Distribution Record
  • Geographic Range Size