Assessing the vulnerability of Australian skinks to climate change

Abigail L. Cabrelli*, Lesley Hughes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


A framework for assessing species vulnerability to climate change was developed and applied to the largest family of reptiles in Australia, the scincid lizards (skinks). This framework integrated the projections of environmental niche models (ENMs) with an index of vulnerability based on the species’ ecological traits. We found vulnerability to be highly variable among species, suggesting that responses to climate change will be idiosyncratic, and identified a number of species that by virtue of their ecological traits and model projections may be at risk of significant range contractions in the near future. Importantly, we also found that extrinsic vulnerability (as measured by the degree of range change) and intrinsic vulnerability (based on species traits) were not correlated, highlighting the importance of considering both types of information. This framework provides a transparent and objective tool for assessing climate change vulnerability and can provide a basis upon which to develop conservation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-233
Number of pages11
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

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