Assessing climate change vulnerability for the Iberian viper <em>Vipera seoanei</em>

  • Fernando Martínez-Freiría CIBIO/InBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos da Universidade do Porto. Instituto de Ciências Agrárias de Vairão, R. Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal;


Anthropogenic climate change has the potential to completely modify patterns of biodiversity worldwide. In the Iberian Peninsula, Euro-Siberian reptiles are suggested as the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. One of most threatened species is Vipera seoanei, for which it was forecasted a complete loss of suitable habitats already in 2020. In this work, 355 distributional rec-ords (at 1 x 1 km scale) and eight climatic variables for current and future conditions (three story-lines; 2050 and 2080 periods) are analysed by combining four ecological niche-based model algo-rithms (ANN, GAM, GLM and MAXENT) to assess V. seoanei vulnerability to forecasted scenarios of climatic change, and to infer potential impacts in its genetic diversity. Consensus models for cur-rent conditions fit species observational data and identify two temperature and two precipitation variables as the most related to the species distribution. Prognostics for the future predict V. seoanei persistence in the Iberian Peninsula for the next future, but with dramatic reductions in suitable cli-matic areas by 2050 and especially by 2080. Reductions might be particularly accused along the species range margins, and thus currently isolated populations at its south-western range would be highly vulnerable to extinction. Furthermore, important losses of genetic diversity and population isolation might be favoured in the future, suggesting a high vulnerability of the species to climate change, and thus the necessity of developing further studies and monitoring programs. Other spe-cies with Euro-Siberian affinity are likely to experience similar responses and would show similar vulnerability to climate change.

Research Papers