• 1 Applied and Restoration Ecology Group, Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE-CSIC), 50092 Zaragoza, Spain. Electronic address:
  • 2 Research Laboratory, North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA. Electronic address:
  • 3 Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), 88400, Jalan Maktab Sabah, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  • 4 CIBIO/InBIO - Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, University of Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
  • 5 Applied and Restoration Ecology Group, Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE-CSIC), 50092 Zaragoza, Spain. Electronic address:
  • 6 Department of Aquatic Sciences, Faculty of Resource Science & Technology, University Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia. Electronic address:
  • 7 CBMA - Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology, Department of Biology, University of Minho, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
  • 8 Department of Information & Communication Technologies, School of Engineering and Technology (SET), AIT Asian Institute of Technology, P.O. Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand. Electronic address:
  • 9 School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih, Malaysia. Electronic address:
Sci Total Environ, 2018 Sep 01;635:750-760.
PMID: 29680765 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.056


Deforestation, climate change and invasive species constitute three global threats to biodiversity that act synergistically. However, drivers and rates of loss of freshwater biodiversity now and in the future are poorly understood. Here we focus on the potential impacts of global change on freshwater mussels (Order Unionida) in Sundaland (SE Asia), a vulnerable group facing global declines and recognized indicators of overall freshwater biodiversity. We used an ensemble of distribution models to identify habitats potentially suitable for freshwater mussels and their change under a range of climate, deforestation and invasion scenarios. Our data and models revealed that, at present, Sundaland features 47 and 32 Mha of habitat that can be considered environmentally suitable for native and invasive freshwater mussels, respectively. We anticipate that by 2050, the area suitable for palm oil cultivation may expand between 8 and 44 Mha, representing an annual increase of 2-11%. This is expected to result in a 20% decrease in suitable habitat for native mussels, a drop that reaches 30% by 2050 when considering concomitant climate change. In contrast, the habitat potentially suitable for invasive mussels may increase by 44-56% under 2050 future scenarios. Consequently, native mussels may compete for habitat, food resources and fish hosts with invasive mussels across approximately 60% of their suitable range. Our projections can be used to guide future expeditions to monitor the conservation status of freshwater biodiversity, and potentially reveal populations of endemic species on the brink of extinction. Future conservation measures-most importantly the designation of nature reserves-should take into account trends in freshwater biodiversity generally, and particularly species such as freshwater mussels, vital to safeguard fundamental ecosystem services.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.