Patiño, J., Mateo, R.G., Zanatta, F., Marquet, A., Aranda, S.C., Borges, P.A.V., Dirkse, G., Gabriel, R., Gonzalez-Mancebo, M., Guisan, A., Muñoz, J., Sim-Sim, M. & Vanderpoorten, A. (2016) Climate threat on the Macaronesian endemic bryophyte flora.Scientific Reports, 6, 1-12. DOI:10.1038/srep29156 (IF2016 4,259; Q1 Multidisciplinary Sciences)
Oceanic islands are of fundamental importance for the conservation of biodiversity because they exhibit high endemism rates coupled with fast extinction rates. Nowhere in Europe is this pattern more conspicuous than in the Macaronesian biogeographic region. A large network of protected areas within the region have been developed, but the question of whether these areas will still be climatically suitable for the globally threatened endemic element in the coming decades remains open. Here, we make predictions on the fate of the Macaronesian endemic bryophyte flora in the context of ongoing climate change. The potential distribution of 35 Macaronesian endemic bryophyte species was assessed under present and future climate conditions using an ensemble modelling approach. Projections of the models under different climate change scenarios predicted an average decrease of suitable areas of 62-87% and a significant elevational increase by 2070, so that even the commonest species were predicted to fit either the Vulnerable or Endangered IUCN categories. Complete extinctions were foreseen for six of the studied Macaronesian endemic species. Given the uncertainty regarding the capacity of endemic species to track areas of suitable climate within and outside the islands, active management associated to an effective monitoring program is suggested.