Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biodiversity In A Warmer World

Date:
October 27, 2008
Source:
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Summary:
Will climate change exceed life's ability to respond? Biodiversity in a Warmer World, published in the Oct. 10, 2008, issue of the journal, Science, illustrates that cross-disciplinary research fostered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama clearly informs this urgent debate.

How will a warmer world affect seasonal behavior such as the flowering of these Cuipo trees in Panama?
Credit: Marcos Guerra, STRI

Will climate change exceed life's ability to respond? Biodiversity in a Warmer World, published in the Oct. 10, 2008 issue of the journal, Science, illustrates that cross-disciplinary research fostered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama clearly informs this urgent debate.

As an extremely diverse region of rainforest and coral reefs, the tropics may have the most to lose as a result of global warming. Some disagree, arguing that tropical organisms will be favored as their ranges expand into temperate areas. Few empirical studies provide specific answers to help us choose conservation and mitigation measures.

Science asked Jens Svenning, University of Aarhus, Denmark and Richard Condit of the Smithsonian's Global Earth Observatory Network to review two papers about species range change:

In a range analysis for plants and insects on a mountain slope in Costa Rica, Colwell et al. show that a 3.2˚ C increase in temperature threatens 53 percent of the area's species with lowland extinction and 51 percent with range shift gaps, meaning that they have nowhere else to go.

The other study they reviewed, by Moritz et al., follows historical range expansions and contractions for small mammals in Yosemite National Park in California, USA and shows that ranges may contract dangerously as they are pushed further and further up mountain slopes.

To provide the proper perspective for this work Svenning, who held a postdoctoral fellowship with the Smithsonian's GEO network in 2000-2002 and Condit cite empirical work by colleagues at the Smithsonian and others:

In a 2001 Science article by STRI staff scientist Carlos Jaramillo et al., plant pollen diversity in rock cores from northern South America revealed that warming events in the tropics over 60 million years were not particularly detrimental, with the caveat that warming in fragmented landscapes or crossing a temperature threshold could cause severe extinctions in the future.

Extant species that evolved in warmer climates should retain the ability to tolerate warmer climates in the future, as argued in a 2001 issue of Science by Eldredge Bermingham, director of STRI and Christopher Dick, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

It is not clear which factors (temperature, moisture, competition with other species, habitat limitation) are the primary causes of tropical extinctions. Drought tolerance, however, definitely limits tropical plant distributions. This was reported in the May 2007 issue of Nature by Bettina Engelbrecht, research associate and lecturer at San Francisco State University, and colleagues.

Condit and Svenning also cite their own studies from the tropics and temperate areas where other drivers of extinction are at work. They call for more discoveries of the sort that often result when researchers are brought together in places like STRI's facilities in Panama, where camaraderie fuels critical ecological research within an intellectual context that encourages a deep time and wide world perspective.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jens-Christian Svenning and Richard Condit. Biodiversity in a Warmer World. Science, 2008; 322: 206-207

Cite This Page:

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Biodiversity In A Warmer World." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081009144059.htm>.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. (2008, October 27). Biodiversity In A Warmer World. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081009144059.htm
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Biodiversity In A Warmer World." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081009144059.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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