Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global Warming Increases Species Extinctions Worldwide

Date:
November 15, 2006
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Global warming has already caused extinctions in the most sensitive habitats and will continue to cause more species to go extinct over the next 50 to 100 years, confirms the most comprehensive study since 2003 on the effects of climate change on wild species worldwide by a University of Texas at Austin biologist.

Global warming has already caused extinctions in the most sensitive habitats and will continue to cause more species to go extinct over the next 50 to 100 years, confirms the most comprehensive study since 2003 on the effects of climate change on wild species worldwide by a University of Texas at Austin biologist.

Dr. Camille Parmesan's synthesis also shows that species are not evolving fast enough to prevent extinction.

"This is absolutely the most comprehensive synthesis of the impact of climate change on species to date," said Parmesan, associate professor of integrative biology. "Earlier synthesis were hampered from drawing broad conclusions by the relative lack of studies. Because there are now so many papers on this subject, we can start pulling together some patterns that we weren't able to before."

Parmesan reviewed more than 800 scientific studies on the effects of human-induced climate change on thousands of species.

"We are seeing stronger responses in species in areas with very cold-adapted species that have had strong warming trends, like Antarctica and the Artic," said Parmesan. "That's something we expected a few years ago but didn't quite have the data to compare regions."

Previously published predictions, including those co-authored by Parmesan in a 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, were that species restricted to cold climate habitats like the Earth's poles or mountain tops and with narrow temperature tolerances (for example, tropical corals) would be most affected by global warming. Less than a decade later, those predictions have been born out.

The most sensitive species are going extinct and/or shifting their ranges geographically as their original habitats become inhospitable. The studies reviewed by Parmesan reveal this trend will continue.

"Some species that are adapted to a wide array of environments--globally common, or what we call weedy or urban species--will be most likely to persist," said Parmesan. "Rare species that live in fragile or extreme habitats are already being affected, and we expect that to continue."

The studies Parmesan analyzed also show that some species--those with short generation times like insects--are evolving in response to climate change, but not in ways that could prevent extinction.

"Some populations are adapting, but species are not evolving anything that's really new, something we haven't been able to say before because we didn't have enough studies," Parmesan said. "To really come up with something new that's going to allow a species to live in a completely new environment takes a million years. It's not going to happen in a hundred years or even a few hundred years. By then, we might not even think of it as the same species.

"The good news is that some species already had a few individuals that were good at moving, so some populations are evolving better dispersal abilities. These species are able to move faster and better than we thought they could as climate warms at their northern range boundaries. So, they're expanding into new territories very rapidly."

Parmesan said that pests and diseases are also showing the same northward shifts as other wild animals.

Parmesan also found that, at present, scientists cannot predict exactly which species will respond to climate change based on what kind of organism it is. Within groups of animals and plants, some species respond to climate change and others do not.

"Whether it's within fish, trees or butterflies, you're seeing some species responding strongly and some staying fairly stable," said Parmesan. "But within each group you're still seeing about half of the species showing a response. It's a very widespread phenomenon."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Global Warming Increases Species Extinctions Worldwide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061115090040.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2006, November 15). Global Warming Increases Species Extinctions Worldwide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061115090040.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Global Warming Increases Species Extinctions Worldwide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061115090040.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins