Photo: Kristian Bell

Rapid Change in Species Distributions A Cause for Concern

Species distributions around the world are changing rapidly in species ranging from honeyeaters, lichens and mosses, freshwater fishes, bandicoots, and frogs. Ecologists will meet today as part of the 60thAnniversary Ecological Society of Australia conference to discuss the causes and wider impacts of these changes.

Participants available for interview – contact Grace Heathcote; Ecological Society of Australia on 0404 542 523 or

Amphibians have suffered severe declines globally in recent decades, due in particular to the fungal infection chytridiomycosis and anthropogenic stressors such as habitat loss.

“The loss of biodiversity that the Earth is currently experiencing is exceptional, and amphibians have already been heavily impacted by this emerging extinction crisis,” says Jarrod Sopniewski from The Australian National University.

“Over the coming decades, the impacts of a changing climate are also predicted to be an increasing risk for amphibians,” he says.

By modelling the potential future distribution of Australian frogs and the pathogen that causes chytridiomycosis under four climate change scenarios to 2100, Sopniewski found that frogs tended to be negatively impacted under all climate scenarios. His results give an indication of the risk frogs in Australia face over the coming century and may prove useful to guiding conservation efforts.

Also in this session:

  • Geographic range size and speciation in honeyeaters
  • Peeking into the future of lichens and mosses with global species distribution models
  • Predicting distribution shifts in Australian freshwater fishes due to climate change
  • Understanding the key disturbances driving bandicoot distribution in south-west Victoria
  • Small-scale species distribution model identifies restricted breeding habitat for an endemic island bird

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On Twitter: #ESAus20 // @EcolSocAus

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