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The fauna of the central Great Basin: past, present, and future.
FLEISHMAN, ERICA*,1, BRUSSARD, PETER2, MURPHY, DENNIS2, 1 Stanford University, Stanford, CA2 University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV
ABSTRACT- The Great Basin is well known for research on biogeography, but data on the faunal diversity of the central Great Basin is limited. We compare the results of biological surveys on mammals, herptiles, birds, and butterflies in the 1930s to more recent and comprehensive research. We also explore how species distributions may shift in response to restoration efforts and climate change. Recent surveys of both vertebrates and invertebrates suggest that faunas are much more dynamic and less extinction-driven than previously understood. Local extirpations of some species may have been offset by additions of new native species in response to changes in vegetation and hydrology. There is considerable turnover in species composition both within and among mountain ranges. Correlations among species richness of different taxonomic groups appear to be scale-dependent, suggesting that the most appropriate grain for sampling and managing different groups varies. Effects of climate change on species diversity also may vary among mountain ranges. In several ranges, contrary to previous estimates, few if any species apparently would be lost, and the potential order of species extirpations may not be generalizable among ranges. Recent modeling efforts have demonstrated that species richness and composition often can be explained and predicted as functions of topography and climate. Validated predictive models can be used to forecast how faunas may respond to alternative restoration scenarios at watershed and larger spatial extents.
KEY WORDS: biodiversity, biogeography, modeling, restoration