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Climate Change Is Driving Shifts in Dragonfly Species Richness across Europe via Differential Dynamics of Taxonomic and Biogeographic Groups

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Understanding how changes in species richness pattern correlate with range changes in different taxonomic and biogeographic groups is important for conservation because it allows for generalizations about which species are at greatest risk. Here, we assessed whether changes in species richness patterns result from generalized range shifts across taxonomic and biogeographic groups or from changes in specific subsets of species. Using data from 1988 and from 2010, we studied changes in distributional range of European dragonfly species, using outline distribution maps for all dragonflies combined and separately for taxonomic suborders (Zygoptera and Anisoptera) and biogeographic groups (Boreo-alpine, Eurasian, Mediterranean, and Tropical). The results demonstrated differing range dynamics for Zygoptera and Anisoptera, with Anisoptera driving local turnover in species richness to a greater extent than Zygoptera. The distributional range of Tropical and Mediterranean species had expanded to a much greater extent than that of Eurasian and Boreo-alpine species. Large-scale changes in species richness arose from several divergent, group-specific processes. Overall, local diversity especially declined in parts of southern and south-eastern Europe, reflecting local losses in multiple species rather than major range contractions among Mediterranean or Eurasian species. In fact, among the biogeographic groups, overall range declines were most prominent among Boreo-alpine species, highlighting the particular threat from climate change to this group.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1066
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

    Research areas

  • biodiversity, geographic range expansion, Odonata, range dynamics, range size, species distribution, species richness, zoogeography

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