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Last update: May 2021

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ECTOPYR: the Pyrenean ectotherms indicators of climate change

ECTOPYR: the Pyrenean ectotherms indicators of climate change
Fabien Aubret, researcher at the SETE laboratory, recently launched a European cross-border cooperation project INTERREG POCTEFA named ECTOPYR, which aiming ats to benefiting from the cross-border distribution of Pyrenean ectotherms vertebrates and use them as biological indicators of climate change.

The Pyrenees are increasingly affected by climate change. In this context, human societies across the borders must keep track of and adapt to the changes. ECTOPYR offers a novel and ambitious strategy in this regard; that is to use a panel of 8 ectotherm organisms as bio-indicators of climate change, occurring from low-land streams to high-altitude rock-fields. ECTOPYR will generate range maps for each model organism in order to rapidly:

  1. assess each bio-indicator’s response to climate change,
  2. describe the natural variability of the Pyrenees’ climate over vast time scales,
  3. generate modelling tools in order to help anticipating the effects of climate change on each model organisms.

The past-present-future variability of these 8 ectotherm bio-indicators requires the establishment of dynamic maps of distributions over time, in relation to temperature and rainfall records on a hundred sites and the measurement of biological data. In a first step, a state-of-the-knowledge was realized (evidence of presence on the Pyrenean chain). Secondly, thanks to the thermal and ecological preferences of these species, potential maps of presence will be elaborated (extrapolating the achievable ecological niches from the realized niches). These data will then be injected into predictive models to predict the future distribution of these organisms according to the IPCC scenarios (areas of future distribution).

These advances will serve decision-making towards a sustainable future across the various mountain environments, as well as thoroughly understand ecosystem functioning in the Pyrenees. These achievements will benefit environment managers, entrepreneurs and the scientific community, as well as the general public. ECTOPYR will be a stepping stone towards a sustainable future in the Pyrenees, and will make people, managers and communities feel and work in close interaction