Global climate change will severely decrease potential distribution of the East Asian coldwater fish Rhynchocypris oxycephalus (Actinopterygii, Cyprinidae)
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Global climate change has been suggested to cause decrease of distribution area of many species. However, this has not been tested for East Asian inland coldwater fish. Chinese minnow (Rhynchocypris oxycephalus) is a small typical coldwater fish, which is endemic to East Asia and generally inhabits stream headwaters. Due to its occurrence in temperate south China, there is growing concern about its future fate in the face of global warming. In this study, we employed maximum entropy approach to analyze how distribution of this species would be impacted by future climate change. We collected data of 310 independent distribution points and 20 environmental variables, and conducted modeling under three general circulation models assuming two gas emission scenarios for 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s. The results showed that the Min temperature of coldest month was the most important climatic variable for potential distribution of the Chinese minnow. Modeling predicted geographical distribution of the Chinese minnow would shrink over time and become much more limited in all the situations especially in South-eastern China, and there would be little suitable habitat left in this region by 2080s. Our results confirm that climate change clearly poses a severe threat to the Chinese minnow, and we suggest that conservation efforts should focus on lower temperature areas within the current range, because these areas will remain relatively cool and may be still suitable for the Chinese minnow even under the most drastic climate change scenarios.
KeywordsClimate change Geographical distribution Maxent Range contraction
Many thanks to researchers who provided locality records, particularly Shaorong Yang, Pengcheng Lin and Chuanjiang Zhou. Thanks are also to Rao Cui for invaluable assistance in the technical treatment of map analyses. This research was supported by the Innovation Projects of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KSCXZ-YW-Z1023). Two reviewers are thanked for their useful suggestions and comments that helped improve the manuscript.
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