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Garcia-Dominguez J.A.,Institute Biotecnologia y Ecologia Aplicada INBIOTECA | Rojas-Soto O.R.,Institute Ecologia | Galindo-Gonzalez J.R.,Institute Biotecnologia y Ecologia Aplicada INBIOTECA | Gonzalez-Romero A.,Institute Biotecnologia y Ecologia Aplicada INBIOTECA | And 2 more authors.
Mammalia | Year: 2014

The current distribution of the endemic Perote ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus perotensis) and its future potential response to climate change have not been addressed. Thus, in this work, we focus on both aspects of this species by means of ecological niche modeling, using different general circulation models and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission scenarios. Because the species' life history includes a hibernation period, we performed two different sets of analysis: one considering the whole annual cycle and another considering only the species' active season. According to our results, the current potential distribution of X. perotensis extends further out of the Oriental Basin, to which the species is endemic. Future projections vary among different climatic scenarios and data sets used in the modeling process, but virtually all of them project a substantial encroachment of the species' potential distribution area by 2050. Our models suggest that, compared with species that are active throughout the year, X. perotensis, being a seasonal species, could be affected by climate change, increasing the risk of extinction. This may pose a serious threat to the Perote ground squirrel's persistence throughout the following decades.

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