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Relative vulnerability to hurricane disturbance for endangered mammals in Mexico: a call for adaptation strategies under uncertainty

Ameca, EI; Mace, GM; Cowlishaw, G; Pettorelli, N; (2019) Relative vulnerability to hurricane disturbance for endangered mammals in Mexico: a call for adaptation strategies under uncertainty. Animal Conservation , 22 (3) pp. 262-273. 10.1111/acv.12461. Green open access

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Abstract

Most climate change vulnerability assessments of species focus on characterizing the degree to which species are likely to be affected by changes in mean climatic conditions. Yet, there has been little progress in the explicit assessment of species vulnerability to extreme climatic events (ECEs) which have the potential to cause substantial environmental disturbance and potentially catastrophic declines of wildlife populations. Using a trait-based approach, we assessed the relative vulnerability of populations of wild animal species to hurricanes, focusing on 25 terrestrial mammals at high risk of extinction in Mexico. Our assessment uses biological traits associated with heightened sensitivity (low vagility and territoriality) and low adaptive capacity (restricted diet and habitat specialization) in relation to their predicted exposure to hurricanes, based on records of occurrence of hurricanes in their geographical range over the past 45 years. We found that territoriality was present in most of the species assessed (n = 20) followed by habitat specialization (n = 6), low vagility (n = 6) and diet specialization (n = 3). Two subspecies of spider monkeys Ateles geoffroyi vellerosus and A. g. yucatanensis, two howler monkeys Alouatta pigra and Alouatta palliata mexicana and the silky anteater Cyclopes didactylus all emerged from this assessment as highly vulnerable to population declines from exposure to hurricanes. In the absence of any robust predictive framework for assessing risk to species from ECEs we suggest that the integration of data on hurricane exposure and species’ intrinsic biology, as presented here, represents a coherent and informative basis for risk evaluation and the design of possible mitigation strategies.

Type: Article
Title: Relative vulnerability to hurricane disturbance for endangered mammals in Mexico: a call for adaptation strategies under uncertainty
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/acv.12461
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12461
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: hurricane disturbance, mammals, population decline, species traits, vulnerability assessment, extreme climatic events, Mexico, extinction risk
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10061359
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