Paleodistribution modeling suggests glacial refugia in Scandinavia and out-of-Tibet range expansion of the Arctic fox

Marcelo Fuentes-Hurtado*, Anouschka R. Hof, Roland Jansson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Quaternary glacial cycles have shaped the geographic distributions and evolution of numerous species in the Arctic. Ancient DNA suggests that the Arctic fox went extinct in Europe at the end of the Pleistocene and that Scandinavia was subsequently recolonized from Siberia, indicating inability to track its habitat through space as climate changed. Using ecological niche modeling, we found that climatically suitable conditions for Arctic fox were found in Scandinavia both during the last glacial maximum (LGM) and the mid-Holocene. Our results are supported by fossil occurrences from the last glacial. Furthermore, the model projection for the LGM, validated with fossil records, suggested an approximate distance of 2000 km between suitable Arctic conditions and the Tibetan Plateau well within the dispersal distance of the species, supporting the recently proposed hypothesis of range expansion from an origin on the Tibetan Plateau to the rest of Eurasia. The fact that the Arctic fox disappeared from Scandinavia despite suitable conditions suggests that extant populations may be more sensitive to climate change than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-180
Number of pages11
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arctic fox
  • Ecological niche modeling
  • Fennoscandia
  • Last glacial maximum
  • Out-of-Tibet hypothesis
  • Refugia

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