Changes in the altitudinal distributions of North American Nebria (Coleoptera: Carabidae) as indicators of climate change

by Dave Kavanaugh

Having studied the geographical and altitudinal distributions of mountain-dwelling Nebria species in North America over a span of more than 30 years has provided me with the experience and perspective to recognize that the altitudinal ranges of many, if not all, of these species have shifted over that period, all of them upward, most likely in response to a warming climate.  My current research aims to (1) more carefully re-examine historical data on altitudinal distributions associated with museum specimens and my field notes; (2) clearly define the present altitudinal ranges, especially the lower limits of distribution, for each of these species through additional field observations in order to better quantify historical changes and also establish a baseline against which future altitudinal range shifts can be measured; and (3) explore the implications of the observed changes as a useful measure of climate change, particularly change in temperature.

Nebria sierra Kavanaugh. Photo by Dong Lin.

Collection records for Nebria sonorae Kavanaugh.  Map from Google Earth.


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