Brief Communications Arising | Published:

Extinction and climate change

Nature volume 482, pages E4E5 (23 February 2012) | Download Citation

Abstract

Arising from F. He & S. P. Hubbell Nature 473, 368–371 ()(2011)10.1038/nature09985.

Statistical relationships between habitat area and the number of species observed (species–area relationships, SARs) are sometimes used to assess extinction risks following habitat destruction or loss of climatic suitability. He and Hubbell1 argue that the numbers of species confined to—rather than observed in—different areas (endemics–area relationships, EARs) should be used instead of SARs, and that SAR-based extinction estimates in the literature are too high. We suggest that He and Hubbell’s SAR estimates are biased, that the empirical data they use are not appropriate to calculate extinction risks, and that their statements about extinction risks from climate change2 do not take into account non-SAR-based estimates or recent observations. Species have already responded to climate change in a manner consistent with high future extinction risks.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. *Department of Biology, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK.

    • Chris D. Thomas
    •  & Mark Williamson

Authors

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Contributions

C.D.T. and M.W. jointly conceived and wrote the communication.

Competing interests

Declared none.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chris D. Thomas.

About this article

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10858

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