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Data from: Potential effects of future climate change on global reptile distributions and diversity

Cite this dataset

Biber, Matthias F.; Voskamp, Alke; Hof, Christian (2023). Data from: Potential effects of future climate change on global reptile distributions and diversity [Dataset]. Dryad.


Aim: Until recently, complete information on global reptile distributions has not been widely available. Here, we provide the first comprehensive climate impact assessment for reptiles on a global scale.

Location: Global, excluding Antarctica

Time period: 1995, 2050, 2080

Major taxa studied: Reptiles

Methods: We modelled the distribution of 6,296 reptile species and assessed potential global as well as realm-specific changes in species richness, the change in global species richness across climate space, and species-specific changes in range extent, overlap and position under future climate change. To assess the future climatic impact on 3,768 range-restricted species, which could not be modelled, we compared the future change in climatic conditions between both modelled and non-modelled species.

Results: Reptile richness was projected to decline significantly over time, globally but also for most zoogeographic realms, with the greatest decrease in Brazil, Australia and South Africa. Species richness was highest in warm and moist regions, with these regions being projected to shift further towards climate extremes in the future. Range extents were projected to decline considerably in the future, with a low overlap between current and future ranges. Shifts in range centroids differed among realms and taxa, with a dominating global poleward shift. Non-modelled species were significantly stronger affected by projected climatic changes than modelled species.

Main conclusions: With ongoing future climate change, reptile richness is likely to decrease significantly across most parts of the world. This effect as well as considerable impacts on species’ range extent, overlap, and position were visible across lizards, snakes and turtles alike. Together with other anthropogenic impacts, such as habitat loss and harvesting of species, this is a cause for concern. Given the historical lack of global reptile distributions, this calls for a re-assessment of global reptile conservation efforts, with a specific focus on anticipated future climate change.


These data comprise the raw data and results of the article: Biber et al. (2023) Potential effects of future climate change on global reptile distributions and diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography.
The methods used to generate these data are fully described in the main text of the paper, and all R code is provided below. Please see the usage notes for details.

Code to reproduce the species distribution models, which we used in our analyses, is available at:

Usage notes

All data and code are contained within three different subfolders of a compressed (zipped) folder, as shown below.

  • R: R-code of the performed analysis, as well as for creating the individual figures and supporting figures
  • data: summarised species, climate and model output data files for creating the presented results, figures and supporting figures
  • extdata: raw data predicted by the performed species distribution models (SDMs; code for performing the species distribution models and creating the raw data can be found here:


Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Award: FKZ 01LS1617A

Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Art