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 October 31, 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 October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii was 225 yards from Pahoa Village Road on Wednesday night. The lava is slowing down but still approaching the village. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) At the foot of the rugged Carpathian mountains near the Polish-Ukrainian border, ranchers and scientists are trying to protect the Carpathian pony, known as the Hucul in Polish. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) 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:

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