Estimating the impact of climate change on the potential distribution of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins with species distribution model.

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Date: Aug. 17, 2021
From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 6,389 words
Lexile Measure: 1450L

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Abstract :

As IUCN critically vulnerable species,the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) have attracted great public attention in recent years. The threats of human disturbance and environmental pollution to this population have been documented extensively. However, research on the sensitivity of this species to climate change is lacking. To understand the effect of climate change on the potential distribution of Sousa chinensis, we developed a weighted ensemble model based on 82 occurrence records and six predictor variables (e.g., ocean depth, distance to shore, mean temperature, salinity, ice thickness, and current velocity). According to the true skill statistic (TSS) and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), our ensemble model presented higher prediction precision than most of the single-algorithm models. It also indicated that ocean depth and distance to shore were the most important predictors in shaping the distribution patterns. The projections for the 2050s and 2100s from our ensemble model indicated a severe adverse impact of climate change on the Sousa chinensis habitat. Over 75% and 80% of the suitable habitat in the present day will be lost in all representative concentration pathway emission scenarios (RCPS) in the 2050s and 2100s, respectively. With the increased numbers of records of stranding and deaths of Sousa chinensis in recent years, strict management regulations and conservation plans are urgent to safeguard the current suitable habitats. Due to habitat contraction and poleward shift in the future, adaptive management strategies, including designing new reserves and adjusting the location and range of reserves according to the geographical distribution of Sousa chinensis, should be formulated to minimize the impacts of climate change on this species.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A672317712