Vortrag, GfÖ 40th Anniversary Meeting 2010 "The Future of Biodiversity - Genes, Species, Ecosystems", Giessen, Germany: 30.08.2010 - 03.09.2010
The potential impacts of climate change on species distributions are the topic of ongoing debate. Dragonflies are a particularly interesting species group in this context: Due to their aquatic way of life, dragonfly larvae are directly affected by changes in precipitation, temperature and other climatic factors, whereas adult dragonflies as good dispersers may be able to track the shifts of climate space. Shifts in dragonfly species composition can already be observed. Several dragonfly species are protected under the Habitats Directive of the European Union. We here focus on EU-wide protected species, as we are interested in the impacts of climate change on the Natura 2000 network in our research project (funded by the BfN). Some species, such as the West-Mediterranean Oxygastra curtisii, show already an active spread into new areas, for example into Germany. Consequently, the responsibility of countries with respect to species protection is changing with the shift in species distributions. We identified several EU-wide protected dragonfly species that are, either currently or potentially in the future, relevant for nature conservation. We projected the potential future occurrence probability of these selected species based on climatic variables, dispersal abilities and land cover information, using Boosted Regression Trees as modelling algorithm. The potential range changes of these species, the driving factors, and the implications for nature conservation are discussed.