Isopod distribution and climate change.

Research paper by Spyros S Sfenthourakis, Elisabeth E Hornung

Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: ZooKeys


The unique properties of terrestrial isopods regarding responses to limiting factors such as drought and temperature have led to interesting distributional patterns along climatic and other environmental gradients at both species and community level. This paper will focus on the exploration of isopod distributions in evaluating climate change effects on biodiversity at different scales, geographical regions, and environments, in view of isopods' tolerances to environmental factors, mostly humidity and temperature. Isopod distribution is tightly connected to available habitats and habitat features at a fine spatial scale, even though different species may exhibit a variety of responses to environmental heterogeneity, reflecting the large interspecific variation within the group. Furthermore, isopod distributions show some notable deviations from common global patterns, mainly as a result of their ecological features and evolutionary origins. Responses to human disturbance are not always traceable, but a trend towards community homogenisation is often found under strong global urbanisation processes. In general, even though it is still not clear how predicted climate change will affect isopod distribution, there is evidence that mixed effects are to be expected, depending on the region under study. We still lack robust and extensive analyses of isopod distributions at different scales and at different biomes, as well as applications of distribution models that might help evaluate future trends.