Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insights Into How Climate Change Might Impact Species' Geographic Ranges

Date:
June 25, 2009
Source:
University of Notre Dame
Summary:
A new study offers interesting insights into how species may, or may not, change their geographic range (the place where they live on earth) under climate change.

A new study by a team of researchers led by Jessica Hellmann, assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, offers interesting insights into how species may, or may not, change their geographic range — the place where they live on earth — under climate change. The lead author on the paper is recent Notre Dame doctoral degree recipient Shannon Pelini.

Researchers have hypothesized that populations near the northern boundaries of geographic ranges in the Northern Hemisphere would be pre-adapted to warming and thus will increase with warming, facilitating range expansions. However, the assumptions underlying this theory have not been previously tested. If these northern populations do not increase under warming, species may not track changing climatic conditions and instead decline under climate change.

In a paper appearing in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Hellmann and her team describe how they tested the assumption that populations at the northern edge of a species' range will increase with warming and thereby enhance the colonization process by using two butterflies: the Propertius duskywing and the Anise swallowtail. Hellmann notes that butterflies serve as a kind of flagship species for studying the effects of climate change. They live and die relatively quickly and researchers have garnered a substantial amount of information about them and their habits. Insects in general are important subjects for climate studies because of the key role they play in areas such as pollination and the cycling of nutrient in ecosystems.

Hellmann pointed out that by comparing and contrasting two distinct butterfly species in the same geographic area, researchers can obtain general principles to help predict if species will change their geographic ranges under climate change.

Hellmann and her colleagues found that populations at the northern range edge in both butterfly species experienced problems when exposed to warmer conditions — the conditions that they will experience under climate change. The duskywing performed well in the summer months, initially suggesting that populations could increase with warming conditions. However, it performed poorly under warmer winter conditions, which would likely offset the summer population gains. Additionally, range expansion of the species is inhibited by the lack of host plants.

Northern populations of the swallowtail did not benefit from any of the warming treatments. The species fared badly during heat waves occurring during the summer months when tested under field conditions and fared no better under conditions of steady, moderate warming in the laboratory. Temperatures at the northern edge of the geographic range also impacted the host plant the species relies on, implying that interactions among species could change under climate change.

The results shed doubt on the assumption that populations near the upward range boundary are pre-adapted to warming and will increase with upward range expansions and this paper is the first based on experiments to say so.

Other authors of the paper include Jason D.K. Dzurisin, Kirstin M. Prior and Travis D. Marsico (a recent doctoral degree recipient currently at Mississippi State University) of Notre Dame's Department of Biological Sciences; and Caroline M. Williams and Brent J. Sinclair of the University of Western Ontario's Department of Biology.

The paper also is an important addition to the ongoing discussion among scientists on when and how to use an environmental strategy known as "managed relocation."

Managed relocation, also known as "assisted migration," has emerged as a possible means of preserving species endangered by rapid climate change and other environmental threats. The concept involves picking a species up and moving it potentially hundreds of miles to a place thought to be more accommodating, but which is outside of the species' native range.

Hellmann, and fellow Notre Dame researchers Jason McLachlan and Alejandro Camacho were among the authors of another PNAS paper last month that described a ground-breaking tool designed to help policy makers assess potential managed relocations.

The latest managed relocation PNAS paper suggests some issues, such as unexpected impacts on the relocated species and the creation of further environmental problems, that scientists and policy makers will confront in considering managed relocations.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Program for Ecosystems Research.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Notre Dame. "Insights Into How Climate Change Might Impact Species' Geographic Ranges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623150617.htm>.
University of Notre Dame. (2009, June 25). Insights Into How Climate Change Might Impact Species' Geographic Ranges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623150617.htm
University of Notre Dame. "Insights Into How Climate Change Might Impact Species' Geographic Ranges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623150617.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. 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:
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