|Title||Global warming, elevational ranges and the vulnerability of tropical biota|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2010|
|Authors||Laurance, WF, Gamez, AL, Hietz, P, Fiedler, K, Pyrcz, T, Wolf, J, Merkordn, CL, Cardelus, C, Marshallp, AR, Ah-Peng, C, Aplets, GH, Useche, DC, Arizmendit, MC, Bakeru, WJ, Barone, J, Brühl, CA, Bussmann, RW, Cicuzza, D, Eilu, G, Favil, ME, Hemp, A, Hemp, C, Shoo, LP, Homeiera, J, Hurtadoa, J, Jankowskia, J, Kattan, G, Kluge, J, Krömer, T, Leesaf, DC, Lehnert, M, Longino, JT, Lovettp, J, Herzog, SK, Martin, PH, Patterson, BD, Pearson, RG, Peh, KS-H, Richardson, B, Richardson, M, Samways, MJ, Senbeta, F, Smith, TB, Utteridge, TMA, Kessler, M, Watkins, JE, Wilson, R, William, SE, Thomas, CD, Escobar, F, Brehm, G, Axmacher, JC, Chen, I-C|
Tropical species with narrow elevational ranges may be thermally specialized and vulnerable to global warming. Local studies of distributions along elevational gradients reveal small-scale patterns but do not allow generalizations among geographic regions or taxa. We critically assessed data from 249 studies of species elevational distributions in the American, African, and Asia-Pacific tropics. Of these, 150 had sufficient data quality, sampling intensity, elevational range, and freedom from serious habitat disturbance to permit robust across-study comparisons. We found four main patterns: (1) species classified as elevational specialists (upper- or lower-zone specialists) are relatively more frequent in the American than Asia-Pacific tropics, with African tropics being intermediate; (2) elevational specialists are rare on islands, especially oceanic and smaller continental islands, largely due to a paucity of upper-zone specialists; (3) a relatively high proportion of plants and ectothermic vertebrates (amphibians and reptiles) are upper-zone specialists; and (4) relatively few endothermic vertebrates (birds and mammals) are upperzone specialists. Understanding these broad-scale trends will help identify taxa and geographic regions vulnerable to global warming and highlight future research priorities.