The Yale Undergraduate Research Journal


Framework-based models serve as an important tool to describe, predict and manage ecological systems. In this paper I construct one such model, a dispersive force model based on MacArthur and Wilson’s (1963) theory of island biogeography, in order to assess island species richness with varying climatic patterns. Specifically, I use island–mainland distance (d), insular area (A), a climatic dispersal parameter (f), and a climatic disturbance parameter (h) to calculate the insular species richness ratio at equilibrium. To test this model through hurricane impact on marine islands, it was executed with data from islands of the Dutch Caribbean. Future climatic conditions were based on the UN IPCC report’s 2100 predictions with a mean global temperature rise of 2°C. Although the model was implemented with conservative estimates, all the islands tested show a significant decline in species diversity in future climatic conditions. The windward islands show a ~9% to 13% decrease in insular species richness, compared to ~2% decline on the leeward islands.