Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A mountain bird's survival guide to climate change

Date:
June 8, 2010
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Researchers have found that the risk of extinction for mountain birds due to global warming is greatest for species that occupy a narrow range of altitude. In fact, a species' vertical distribution is a better predictor of extinction risk than the extent of temperature change they experience, the researchers report.

Researchers at Yale University have found that the risk of extinction for mountain birds due to global warming is greatest for species that occupy a narrow range of altitude. In fact, a species' vertical distribution is a better predictor of extinction risk than the extent of temperature change they experience, the researchers report in the June 9 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

"Birds allow us to do the first global assessment of the health of a whole large chunk of biodiversity at high altitudes in the face of global warming," said Walter Jetz, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and co-author of the study along with colleague Frank La Sorte. "High-elevation species are essentially living on islands where every incremental increase in temperature is dramatically shrinking. Our global projections pinpoint hundreds of bird species in peril and often with nowhere to go."

As temperatures warm, scientists have found that mountain species respond by shifting to higher and cooler elevations. La Sorte and Jetz estimated the vulnerability of mountain species to climate change by looking at a variety of factors, including the birds' ability to move to higher elevations or to neighboring mountain systems.

The Yale team studied all one thousand species of birds living in high-elevation environments. The team then assessed how the distribution of these species across the mountain systems of the world coincided with projected temperature changes.

Under a scenario where the range of temperatures contract and species are unable to shift their ranges to higher elevations, the analysis showed that a full third of mountain bird species were severely threatened.

In a scenario where species have the option to shift their ranges to higher elevations, the number of mountain bird species threatened is halved, with species located on the tallest mountain systems receiving the greatest benefits.

While some species can move to neighboring mountains, bird species on isolated mountain systems were the most threatened.

The study highlights Africa, Australia, and North America as regions of particular concern for mountain biodiversity, where dispersal opportunities overall are the most limited.

Besides offering another call for action to prevent global warming, La Sorte and Jetz said the study suggests that more effort should be placed on documenting species' vertical distributions and placing reserves in highland locations and along key elevational corridors to promote new habitat opportunities for mountain species.

"Understanding the biological consequences of climate change is one of the most pressing scientific challenges of our day," La Sorte said. "This is particularly true for mountains and the species that inhabit them, which are considered to be especially susceptible to climate change."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "A mountain bird's survival guide to climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211136.htm>.
Yale University. (2010, June 8). A mountain bird's survival guide to climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211136.htm
Yale University. "A mountain bird's survival guide to climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211136.htm (accessed August 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) 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