As flower pollinators, seed dispersers and pest controllers, bats provide important ecosystem services in the areas they inhabit. Human-induced climate change may threaten the habitats of bats, and with them, the ecosystem services provided by affected species.
In a new study of the impact of climate change on bat diversity in Carajás National Forest (Pará, Brazil), researchers collect information about more than 80 bat species present in the region. Combined with GBIF-mediated species occurrences and future climate scenarios, they create species distribution models, showing that 57 per cent of species may not find suitable habitats in Carajás under these scenarios. For nectarivorous bats, only a single species is predicted to find suitable habitat.
As more than 500 plant species (including important crops) rely on pollination and seed dispersal by these bats, the indirect consequences of climate change on ecosystem services are potentially catastrophic.