Document Detail

Bat reproduction declines when conditions mimic climate change projections for western North America.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20836465     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Climate change models predict that much of western North America is becoming significantly warmer and drier, resulting in overall reductions in availability of water for ecosystems. Herein, I demonstrate that significant declines in the reproductive success of female insectivorous bats occur in years when annual environmental conditions mimic the long-term predictions of regional climate change models. Using a data set gathered on bat populations from 1996 through 2008 along the Front Range of Colorado, I compare trends in population numbers and reproductive outcomes of six species of vespertilionid bats with data on mean annual high temperature, precipitation, snow pack, and stream discharge rates. I show that levels of precipitation and flow rates of small streams near maternity colonies is fundamentally tied to successful reproduction in female bats, particularly during the lactation phase. Across years that experienced greater than average mean temperatures with less than average precipitation and stream flow, bat populations responded by slight to profound reductions in reproductive output depending on the severity of drought conditions. In particular, reproductive outputs showed profound declines (32-51%) when discharge rates of the largest stream in the field area dropped below 7 m3/s, indicating a threshold response. Such sensitivity to environmental change portends severe impacts to regional bat populations if current scenarios for climate change in western North America are accurate. In addition, bats act as early-warning indicators of large-scale ecological effects resulting from further regional warming and drying trends currently at play in western North America.
Rick A Adams
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecology     Volume:  91     ISSN:  0012-9658     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecology     Publication Date:  2010 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-09-14     Completed Date:  2010-10-05     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0043541     Medline TA:  Ecology     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2437-45     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Biological Sciences, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado 80639, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Chiroptera / physiology*
Climate Change*
Hot Temperature
North America
Population Dynamics
Reproduction / physiology*
Time Factors

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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