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01.01.2015 | Sonderheft 1/2015 Open Access

Ambio 1/2015

Microrefugia: Not for everyone

Ambio > Sonderheft 1/2015
Kristoffer Hylander, Johan Ehrlén, Miska Luoto, Eric Meineri


Microrefugia are sites that support populations of species when their ranges contract during unfavorable climate episodes. Here, we review and discuss two aspects relevant for microrefugia. First, distributions of different species are influenced by different climatic variables. Second, climatic variables differ in the degree of local decoupling from the regional climate. Based on this, we suggest that only species limited by climatic conditions decoupled from the regional climate can benefit from microrefugia. We argue that this restriction has received little attention in spite of its importance for microrefugia as a mechanism for species resilience (the survival of unfavorable episodes and subsequent range expansion). Presence of microrefugia will depend on both the responses of individual species to local climatic variation and how climate-forcing factors shape the correlation between local and regional climate across space and time.
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