Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global Warming Threatens Australia's Iconic Kangaroos

Date:
October 16, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
An increase in average temperature of only two degrees Celsius could have a devastating effect on populations of Australia's iconic kangaroos.

Kangaroo. Sn increase in average temperature of only two degrees Celsius could have a devastating effect on populations of Australia's iconic kangaroos.
Credit: iStockphoto

As concerns about the effects of global warming continue to mount, a new study published in the December issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology finds that an increase in average temperature of only two degrees Celsius could have a devastating effect on populations of Australia's iconic kangaroos.

Related Articles


"Our study provides evidence that climate change has the capacity to cause large-scale range contractions, and the possible extinction of one macropodid (kangaroo) species in northern Australia," write study authors Euan G. Ritchie and Elizabeth E. Bolitho of James Cook University in Australia.

Ritchie and Bolitho used computer modeling and three years of field observations to predict how temperature changes that are considered to be likely over the next half-century might affect four species of kangaroos. They found that a temperature increase as small as a half-degree Celsius may shrink kangaroos' geographic ranges. An increase of two degrees may shrink kangaroos' ranges by 48 percent. A six-degree increase might shrink ranges by 96 percent.

Ritchie says that generally accepted climate models predict temperatures in northern Australia to be between 0.4 and two degrees warmer by 2030, and between two and six degrees warmer by 2070.

The most significant effects of climate change are not necessarily on the animals themselves, but on their habitats—specifically, in amounts of available water. This is particularly true in Northern Australia, says Ritchie.

"If dry seasons are to become hotter and rainfall events more unpredictable, habitats may become depleted of available pasture for grazing and waterholes may dry up," the authors write. "This may result in starvation and failed reproduction … or possible death due to dehydration for those species that are less mobile."

And although kangaroo species may be mobile enough to relocate as the climate changes, the vegetation and topography for which they are adapted are unlikely to shift at the same pace.

The antilopine wallaroo, a kangaroo species adapted for a wet, tropical climate, faces the greatest potential risk. Ritchie and Bolitho found that a two-degree temperature increase may shrink its range by 89 percent. A six-degree increase may lead to the extinction of antilopine wallaroos if they are unable to adapt to the arid grassland that such a temperature change is likely to produce.

"Large macropodids are highly valuable economically, through both ecotourism and a commercial meat trade, and many species are an important food source for indigenous people," they write. "Therefore, it is critically important that we understand the ecology of Australia's native herbivores to ensure any further economic development will occur in an environmentally sustainable way."

The paper appears in an issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology on the focused topic "Predicting Extinction: Investigating the Interface of Physiology, Ecology, and Climate Change."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Global Warming Threatens Australia's Iconic Kangaroos." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081015120734.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, October 16). Global Warming Threatens Australia's Iconic Kangaroos. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081015120734.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Global Warming Threatens Australia's Iconic Kangaroos." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081015120734.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
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