Kyran Staunton, under the direction of Dr Simon Robson at the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change at James Cook University in Townsville, finished his PhD and published a paper this year on the possible effects of climate change on Ground Beetles (Carabidae).
With the impending threat of climate change, a greater understanding of patterns of species distributions and the environmental factors driving them is required for effective conservation efforts. This research combined an extensive dataset of flightless carabids in the Wet Tropics collected by the Queensland Museum, in particular Dr Geoff Monteith, with recent samples collected by the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation, James Cook University. These samples were analysed with environmental correlates to create species distribution models that were projected until 2080, under different climate change scenarios. Decreases in range size, population size and species richness were noted under all emission scenarios. For the most severe scenario, 88% of species were predicted to decline in population size by over 80%, suggesting that flightless ground beetles are among the most vulnerable taxa to climate change impacts so far investigated in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Staunton K, Robson SKA, Burwell CJ, Reside AE and Williams SE (2014) Projected distributions and diversity of flightless ground beetles within the Australian Wet Tropics and their environmental correlates. PLoS ONE, 9 (2). pp. 1-16