Service or Tool

CliMAS Biodiversity: Biodiversity of Australian Terrestrial Vertebrates under climate change

James Cook University
James Cook University (Owned by) eResearch Centre (Managed by, Manages)
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BSD 3-Clause License

Brief description

The CliMAS Biodiversity site provides users with access to projected species richness maps for Australian terrestrial vertebrate species under various climate change scenarios.

Full description

Currently there is a general lack of engagement and knowledge transfer between professional researchers and end-users of research (general public, conservation managers, decision-makers, etc.). This is reflected in a general lack of acceptance and acknowledgement by the public and stakeholders of the potential impacts of climate change, particularly on biodiversity.

Recently, researchers have begun to endeavour to make the results of their research public, however there are currently very few channels through which to communicate projected impacts on biodiversity.

The CliMAS Biodiversity site provides a tool that reuses data available with Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and the Tropical Data Hub to allow a broad range of end-users to explore the potential impacts of climate change on biodiversity of terrestrial vertebrate species in Australia.


The project produces both current and future species richness maps for to the level of genus, family and class for each of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Users visiting the project website can browse maps of biodiversity and download data from the site or from the Tropical Data Hub. A second tool allows users to generate their own species richness maps to view overlaps between taxa.

The data is built from a set of current and future climate suitability maps for each species, generated for the CliMAS Biodiversity site. These use the occurrence records cleaned by experts and the MaxEnt algorithm to calculate climatological sensitivities for the species, then use those sensitivities to map climate/species suitability across Australia. Future climate data is projected using climate change scenarios described by the IPCC AR5 report and consolidated across a number of climate models, such that a climate suitability map is available for each intersection of a climate scenario and year modelled.

All species distribution models within a genus, family, or class are summed to generate maps that display the gradient of species richness within that taxa.

The datasets represent species distributions based on occurrence records from ALA prior to November 2012.

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