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Community Ecology
Authors: S. Ongaro, S. Martellos, G. Bacaro, A. De Agostini, A. Cogoni, and P. Cortis

The Mediterranean is one of the major biodiversity hotspots of the world. It has been identified as the “core” of the speciation process for many groups of organisms. It hosts an impressive number of species, many of which are classified as endangered taxa. Climate change in such a diverse context could heavily influence community composition, reducing ecosystems resistance and resilience. This study aims at depicting the distribution of nine orchid species in the island of Sardinia (Italy), and at forecasting their future distribution in consequence of climate change. The models were produced by following an “ensemble” approach. We analysed present and future (2070) niche for the nine species, using Land Use and Soil Type, as well as 8 bioclimatic variables as predictors, selected because of their influence on the fitness of these orchids. Climate change in the next years, at Mediterranean latitudes, is predicted to results mainly in an increase of temperature and a decrease of precipitation. In 2070, the general trend for almost all modelled taxa is the widening of the suitable areas. However, not always the newly gained areas have high probability of presence. A correct interpretation of environmental changes is needed for developing effective conservation strategies.

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