José Carlos Brito, BIODESERTS, CIBIO-InBIO/UP | May 26, 2017 - 15h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão


Climate change is eroding biodiversity and conservation efforts have focused on species’ potential responses to those changes. Desert-living species could be particularly vulnerable to climate change as they may already live at their physiological limits. The Sahara is the largest warm desert in the world and together with the arid Sahel displays high topographical and climatic heterogeneity, and has experienced recent and strong climatic oscillations that have greatly shifted biodiversity distribution and community composition. Biodiversity is structured and there are many species with small and fragmented ranges, frequently limited to humid micro-habitats. Specific magnitudes and velocities of environmental change threaten Sahara-Sahel biodiversity according to levels of exposure and geographical distributions. The more exposed functional groups live mostly in flat areas, where the predicted magnitude and velocities of change are also the highest. Different biological traits contribute to the extent to which climate change harms species and the desert-adapted species may be the most vulnerable ones. Challenges for biodiversity conservation under climate change scenarios include knowledge gaps in taxonomy, ecophysiology, behavioural ecology, and distribution of biodiversity, coarse resolution of environmental factors, lack of optimised conservation solutions, and growing regional insecurity.


José Carlos Brito completed his PhD in 2003 and he is a member of CIBIO-InBIO since then. Currently he is the Principal Investigator of the group BIODESERTS at CIBIO-InBIO.


Image credits: José Carlos Brito