Climate change is predicted to reduce sympatry among North American wood-warblers

TitleClimate change is predicted to reduce sympatry among North American wood-warblers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsPham CH, J. Price J, Tallant JM, Karowe DN
JournalOrnithological Application
KeywordsCLIMATE CHANGE, interspecific, range shift, species distribution model, sympatric, wood-warblers

Anthropogenic climate change will dramatically alter species distributions. The rate and magnitude of range shifts, how- ever, will differ among taxa, resulting in altered patterns of co-occurrence and interspecific interactions. We examined potential climate-mediated breeding range shifts among North American wood-warblers (Parulidae), a speciose avian family likely to be especially impacted by such changes due to high levels of interspecific competition and hybridization. We used publicly available species distribution model (SDM) range outputs to compare current ranges and patterns of sympatry among warbler species to future ranges and sympatry under 1.5°C, 2.0°C, and 3.0°C of average global warming. Range overlap among species and number of sympatric species are expected to decrease significantly in future warming scenarios, and unequal range shifts will alter the composition of warbler communities. On average, climate change will result in net decreases in the local species diversity; each warbler species is predicted to gain sympatry with approxi- mately 1 new species and lose sympatry with approximately 2 species. Climate-mediated changes are predicted to differ among warblers in different regions of North America, with greatest impacts on eastern and boreal forest species. Our findings suggest that climate change will alter the diversity of wood-warbler communities during this century. Targeted monitoring of these changing interspecific relationships, especially for antagonistic interactions or hybridization be- tween newly sympatric species, will be crucial for prioritizing particular species and regions in future conservation or management efforts.