About this Research Topic
Biome shifting represents one major "tipping point". In response to global warming and human activity like land transformation, the ranges of plant species are shifting, contracting, and expanding into new territories and refugia with milder climates and increased water availability. Following the environmental change, inhabitants of a particular biome must either migrate to areas with favorable conditions or adapt.
Due to their lack of movement, shifts in range and species distribution in plants can be easier to study. However, difficulties in determining species habitat and any shifts arise when there is insufficient data to identify a species' historical range, or because that range may have recently been non-static. Inferences of historical or future shifts in a species' range and distribution depend heavily on the accuracy of the climatic data and the modeling procedure.
Despite criticism, species distribution models (SDMs) are a widely used tool for planning conservation efforts, identifying invasion hazards, mapping habitat suitability, and identifying shifts in a species' range. The entire method used to develop the SDM model, therefore, must be trustworthy, transparent, and repeatable. Modeled responses to environmental variables, mapping model predictions, and performance evaluations (strengths and weaknesses) all need careful consideration. So that such results can guide important decisions, help for the interpretation of model outputs should be available to persons without technical expertise.
This Research Topic will compile promising papers which present and apply rigorous SDMs to test biological hypotheses, plus new ideas on the mechanisms underlying range and distribution shifts.
We therefore invite submissions of all types covering the following subtopics:
1) The effects of species range shifts on the preservation of endemic and threatened plant species;
2) Monitoring keystone species range change due to climate change;
3) Projections of climate change and changes in the climatic range of ecologically significant plant species;
4) The effects of climate change on the ideal climatic range for important agricultural crops.
Keywords: species distribution, range shifts, biome shifts, habitat change, climate change
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.