Climate regions form the basis of many ecological, evolutionary and conservation studies. However, our understanding of climate regions is limited to how they shape vegetation: They do not account for the distribution of animals. Here we develop a network-based framework to identify important climates worldwide based on regularities in realized niches of about 26,000 tetrapods. We show that high-energy climates, including deserts, tropical savannas, and steppes, are consistent across animal- and plant-derived classifications, indicating similar underlying climatic determinants. Conversely, temperate climates differ across all groups, suggesting that these climates allow for idiosyncratic adaptations. Finally, we show how the integration of niche classifications with geographical information enables the detection of climatic transition zones and the signal of geographic and historical processes. Our results identify the climates shaping the distribution of tetrapods and call for caution when using general climate classifications to study the ecology, evolution, or conservation of specific taxa.
- Joaquín Calatayud
- Martin Rosvall
- Magnus Neuman
- Martin Rosvall
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Barnabas Daru, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, United States
- Received: April 29, 2020
- Accepted: February 7, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: February 8, 2021 (version 1)
© 2021, Calatayud et al.
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