Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biodiversity can promote survival on a warming planet, mathematical model shows

Date:
November 17, 2011
Source:
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)
Summary:
Whether a species can evolve to survive climate change may depend on the biodiversity of its ecological community, according to a new mathematical model that simulates the effect of climate change on plants and pollinators.

Whether a plant and its pollinator survive rapid climate change can depend upon the density and distribution of other species in the community, according to a new study.
Credit: Nicole Rafferty

Whether a species can evolve to survive climate change may depend on the biodiversity of its ecological community, according to a new mathematical model that simulates the effect of climate change on plants and pollinators.

Related Articles


The findings, published in the early online edition of Evolutionary Applications, are important because some species that have survived large climatic change in the past might not be able to survive current and ongoing climate change.

In the study, researchers used computer simulations to examine the effect of climate change on populations of flowering plants and their insect pollinators. Ecologists have known for many years that climate change alters the timing of when plants flower and when insects emerge. For example, the onset of new blossoms in many temperate plants in the Northern Hemisphere and the first emergence of some insects have occurred earlier with global warming. If climate change causes species that rely on one another, known as "mutualists," to be active at different times, then these species may be threatened with extinction. The question that remains is whether the process of evolution can mitigate the potential damage that climate change can inflict upon the timing of life cycle events.

Researchers found that in some cases evolution can rescue plant-pollinator mutualisms that would otherwise become extinct as a result of climate change. Whether a mutualism survives, however, can depend upon the density and distribution of other species in the community. For example, under many circumstances, the presence of alternative pollinators available to the focal plant can help to protect both the focal plant and the focal pollinator from extinction.

"In such cases, habitat fragmentation or loss of native pollinators might compound the threat of climate change to mutualisms," said Tucker Gilman, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the paper's lead author. Mutualists are likely to be especially sensitive to rapid climate change, according to the study.

"The results are troubling because anthropogenic (or human caused) climate change is thought to be happening up to ten times faster than any natural climate change in the past 500,000 years," Gilman said. "This means that mutualisms that have survived past climate change events may still be vulnerable to anthropogenic climate change."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Tucker Gilman, Nicholas S. Fabina, Karen C. Abbott, Nicole E. Rafferty. Evolution of plant-pollinator mutualisms in response to climate change. Evolutionary Applications, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2011.00202.x

Cite This Page:

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). "Biodiversity can promote survival on a warming planet, mathematical model shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111106151459.htm>.
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). (2011, November 17). Biodiversity can promote survival on a warming planet, mathematical model shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111106151459.htm
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). "Biodiversity can promote survival on a warming planet, mathematical model shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111106151459.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Japan's Mt. Aso Volcano Spews Rocks

Raw: Japan's Mt. Aso Volcano Spews Rocks

AP (Nov. 28, 2014) — A volcano in southern Japan is spewing volcanic magma rocks. A regional weather observatory says this could be Mt. Aso's first magma eruption in 22 years. (Nov. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. 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