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An elevational shift of cryophilous bryophytes in the last century - an effect of climate warming?


Bergamini, A; Ungricht, S; Hofmann, H (2009). An elevational shift of cryophilous bryophytes in the last century - an effect of climate warming? Diversity and Distributions, 15(5):871-879.

Abstract

Aim To investigate altitudinal range shifts of bryophytes in Switzerland by
comparing recent altitudinal distributions with historical distributions derived
from herbarium specimens.
Location Switzerland, covering 41,285 km2 in Central Europe.
Methods We used a dataset of 8520 herbarium specimens of 61 bryophyte species
and compared altitudinal data between the two periods 1880–1920 and 1980–
2005. The records we used were not specifically sampled for climatological
analyses, but originate from non-systematic fieldwork by various collectors.
Historical and recent records were distributed all over Switzerland with
occurrences in all major biogeographical areas. To account for different
sampling efforts in the two time periods, different subsampling procedures
were applied.
Results Overall, we found a significant mean increase in altitude of 89 ± 29 m
which was mainly driven by the cryophilous species (+222 ± 50 m). The mean
increase in altitude of cryophilous species corresponds to a decadal upward shift
of 24 m. The upper range limit of cryophilous species also increased by
189 ± 55 m, but there was no effect on the lower range limit. For intermediate
and thermophilous species neither mean, nor upper or lower range limits
changed. However, the proportion of records of thermophilous to cryophilous
species increased considerably at lower altitudes, but levelled off above
approximately 1800 m.
Main conclusions We conclude that cryophilous bryophytes are expanding their
range to higher elevations in Switzerland and that at lower elevations, a slow
extinction process is going on, probably as a result of climate warming trends. The
observed decadal upward shifts of cryophilous species closely match those
reported from vascular plants in Europe and those expected, given recent
estimates of climate warming trends. We emphasize that herbaria provide
valuable data that can be used to detect ongoing changes in the distribution of
species.

Abstract

Aim To investigate altitudinal range shifts of bryophytes in Switzerland by
comparing recent altitudinal distributions with historical distributions derived
from herbarium specimens.
Location Switzerland, covering 41,285 km2 in Central Europe.
Methods We used a dataset of 8520 herbarium specimens of 61 bryophyte species
and compared altitudinal data between the two periods 1880–1920 and 1980–
2005. The records we used were not specifically sampled for climatological
analyses, but originate from non-systematic fieldwork by various collectors.
Historical and recent records were distributed all over Switzerland with
occurrences in all major biogeographical areas. To account for different
sampling efforts in the two time periods, different subsampling procedures
were applied.
Results Overall, we found a significant mean increase in altitude of 89 ± 29 m
which was mainly driven by the cryophilous species (+222 ± 50 m). The mean
increase in altitude of cryophilous species corresponds to a decadal upward shift
of 24 m. The upper range limit of cryophilous species also increased by
189 ± 55 m, but there was no effect on the lower range limit. For intermediate
and thermophilous species neither mean, nor upper or lower range limits
changed. However, the proportion of records of thermophilous to cryophilous
species increased considerably at lower altitudes, but levelled off above
approximately 1800 m.
Main conclusions We conclude that cryophilous bryophytes are expanding their
range to higher elevations in Switzerland and that at lower elevations, a slow
extinction process is going on, probably as a result of climate warming trends. The
observed decadal upward shifts of cryophilous species closely match those
reported from vascular plants in Europe and those expected, given recent
estimates of climate warming trends. We emphasize that herbaria provide
valuable data that can be used to detect ongoing changes in the distribution of
species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Altitudinal range displacement • elevational limits • extinction • herbarium specimens • historical records • liverworts and mosses
Language:English
Date:July 2009
Deposited On:21 Aug 2009 16:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:19
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1366-9516
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1472-4642.2009.00595.x
Official URL:http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=1366-9516

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