Extinction from global warming

Date:

Share post:

A new study, published online Oct. 17, 2012 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reviewed 136 case studies to determine the underlying causes of why many populations have gone extinct due to changing climate.

Extinction from global warming
A crevice spiny lizard (Sceloporus poinsettii): widespread local extinctions in spiny lizards have been caused by anthropogenic climate change [Credit: Shea Lambert]

The article, entitled How does climate change cause extinction” describes research led by John J. Wiens, an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University and by PhD students Abigail E. Cahill and Matthew E. Aiello-Lammens.

According to the authors, extinctions of plant and animal populations from human-related climate change are already widespread, but the causes of these extinctions are very poorly understood.

Contrary to expectations given global warming, the results of the study show that very few populations have gone extinct simply because temperatures got too hot for the plants and animals to survive.

“Instead,” said Dr. Wiens, “climate change more often leads to local extinctions and declines by influencing interactions between species, such as reducing prey populations for predators. These shifting interactions may make even small climatic changes dangerous for the survival of plant and animal species. So, for example, many animals may starve to death because of climate change long before the climate gets hot enough for them to die from overheating.”

Co-authors of the study include M. Caitlin Fisher-Reid, Xia Hua, Caitlin Karanewsky, Hae Yeong Ryu, Gena Sbeglia, Fabrizio Spagnolo, John Waldron, and Omar Warsi, all from the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University.

Source: Stony Brook University [October 17, 2012]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Genghis Khan voted the greenest invader in history!

Genghis Khan, who established the world's largest contiguous empire between the 13th and 14th centuries, has been branded...

Seafloor biodiversity affects sediment nutrient cycling

The global decline of biodiversity highlights the urgent need to understand how biodiversity contributes to ecosystem functionality. In...

The ancient atmosphere and carbon and nitrogen in Earth’s crust

Carbon and nitrogen are central to life on Earth -- life cannot exist without them, but an overabundance...

Scientists find daisy fossils from dinosaur times

The dinosaurs of Gondwana may have wandered around and died in fields of flowers that were the ancestors...

Reptilian anachronism: American alligator older than thought

From climate to the peninsula’s very shape, not much in Florida has stayed the same over the last...

Tweak in gene expression may have helped humans walk upright

Consider the engineering marvel that is your foot. Be it hairy or homely, without its solid support you'd...

Rapid evolution aids spread of exotic plant species

A team of Belgian biologists led by researchers at KU Leuven has provided the first genetic evidence that...

Possible clouds on Pluto, next target is reddish

The next target for NASA's New Horizons mission -- which made a historic flight past Pluto in July...