Effect of Climate Change on Terrestrial Vertebrate Biodiversity

Jeff Barnosky

in Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle Pleistocene

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240827
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930858 | DOI:
Effect of Climate Change on Terrestrial Vertebrate Biodiversity

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This chapter examines the effect of climate change on terrestrial vertebrate biodiversity. Climate change appeared to decrease population density, and by inference genetic diversity, to the point of extinction. Data on species-level diversity in Porcupine Cave are consistent with theories which predict that taxa with low population densities are least likely to survive extreme environmental perturbations. Species diversity of small mammals decreased in the uppermost interglacial. Taxa with high previous-population densities survived the onset of the especially xeric time (with lowered densities), even though they were specialists for relatively moist environments (Mictomys and Marmota). In contrast, species with previous low abundance disappeared, even though they were apparently well adapted to the xeric conditions of the uppermost interglacial (Neotoma mexicana and Neotoma micropus).

Keywords: climate change; vertebrate biodiversity; population density; genetic diversity; extinction; Porcupine Cave; Mictomys; Marmota; Neotoma mexicana; Neotoma micropus

Chapter.  4148 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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