Climate change threatens micro-endemic amphibians of an important South American high-altitude center of endemism

journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2019 by Javier M. Cordier, Julián N. Lescano, Natalia E. Ríos, Gerardo C. Leynaud, Javier Nori
Species inhabiting broad altitudinal gradients are particularly exposed to the effects of global climate change (GCC). Those species reaching mountain tops are the most negatively affected. Here, using ecological niche models we estimated the climate change exposure of endemic amphibians of the most important extra-Andean mountain system of Argentina: the Sierras Pampeanas Centrales. Our results pinpoint that micro-endemic amphibians of this mountain system are heavily exposed to the effects of GCC, with important constraints of suitable climatic conditions for the six analyzed species. Among the most important findings, our models predict a high probability of a total disappearance of suitable climatic conditions for two of the species, currently restricted to mountain tops. This high exposure, in synergy with their very restricted ranges, and other important human induced threats (as fish invasion and emergent diseases), pose a serious threat to these endemic species, which can enter into the “extinction pathway” in a near future if no concrete conservation actions are taken. Our findings provide additional evidence of the great negative impact of GCC in high-altitude centers of endemism.