Data_Sheet_1_Invasion and Extirpation Potential of Native and Invasive Spartina Species Under Climate Change.ZIP
Coastal areas host some of the planet’s most productive ecosystems, providing life-sustaining ecological services and several benefits to humankind, while also being some of the most threatened areas (e.g., by globalization, climate change, and biological invasion). Salt marshes are coastal habitats with a key role in food and shelter provisioning, sediment deposition, nutrient cycling and carbon storage. Spartina spp. is a genus of grass halophytes which occurs in salt marshes worldwide, and includes species with different invasive potential. We evaluated the effect of climate change in the distribution and invasion potential of five Spartina species (S. anglica, S. alterniflora, S. densiflora, S. patens, and S. maritima) at a global scale. Species distribution models (SDMs) were applied on species occurrence data and atmospheric environmental predictors (WorldClim 2.1) to project potential changes in habitat suitability and associated changes in distribution and species co-occurrence until the end of the century, across four Shared Socioeconomic Pathway scenarios (i.e., SSP1-2.6 to SSP5-8.5). Projections showed a global trend for increasing species co-occurrence, with a general range expansion potentiated by increasing pathway severity. This study suggests that Spartina species can potentially benefit from climate change, predicting poleward expansions in the Northern Hemisphere for most species, with results pointing at increased conflict and invasion potential in Northern Europe and East Asian shorelines, already under strong invasive pressure. S. anglica is projected to remain a successful invader, with more severe scenarios likely favoring greater expansions. S. alterniflora exhibits very low expansion comparatively, despite exhibiting the same northward distribution shift. SSP1-2.6 produced the smallest change to species co-occurrence, suggesting a smaller potential for invasion-related conflicts, although still registering a potential net expansion for the Genus. Despite their limitations, SDMs can help establish general trends in climate change ecology and inform policymakers and environmental agents to ensure the correct management of these habitats and, ultimately, ecosystems.