Climate change vulnerability depends on whether organisms can disperse rapidly enough to keep pace with shifting temperatures and find suitable habitat along the way. Here, we develop a method to examine where and for which species shifting isotherms will outpace species dispersal using stream networks of the southern Appalachian Mountains (United States) and their highly speciose and endemic fish fauna as a model system. By exploring alternative tributary and mainstem dispersal pathways, we identify tributaries as slow-climate-velocity pathways along which some fish can successfully disperse and thus keep pace with climate change. Despite accessibility and thermal suitability, non-temperature habitat conditions in tributaries are unsuitable for some dispersing species, thus probably precluding establishment of persistent populations. Our findings demonstrate a trade-off shaping the efficacy of thermal refugia that depends on species-specific habitat associations and reveal individual-level dispersal behaviour, body size and stream network geometry as general correlates of climate change vulnerability.
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Dispersal traits are provided in Supplementary Table 5.
Original R scripts and GIS layers generated and/or analysed are available on Figshare at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8948546.
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We thank members of the Giam Lab at the University of Tennessee for field assistance and discussions that improved the manuscript. Financial support was provided by a University of Tennessee start-up grant (E-011080132) awarded to X.G.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Supplementary Figs. 1–17 and Tables 1–6.
R script for fitting and projecting ENM for example species, E. chlorobranchium. The script uses two input datasets (Supplementary Dataset 3 and Supplementary Dataset 4), which are derived from the IchthyMaps dataset and the StreamCat dataset.
R script to identify upstream pathway with larger (mainstem) or smaller (tributary) catchment area of a focal reach. The script uses National Hydrography Dataset flowlines and associated attributes: ComID, UpHydroseq, DnHydroseq, Hydroseq, TotDASqKM.
Temperature parameters in the first sheet and definitions in the second sheet.
ENM habitat suitability in the first sheet and definitions in the second sheet.
Input dataset for environmental niche modelling script (see Supplementary Code 1).
Input dataset for environmental niche modelling script (see Supplementary Code 1).
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Troia, M.J., Kaz, A.L., Niemeyer, J.C. et al. Species traits and reduced habitat suitability limit efficacy of climate change refugia in streams. Nat Ecol Evol 3, 1321–1330 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0970-7
Nature Communications (2020)