Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate changes distribution of plants, animals

Date:
January 9, 2014
Source:
Universität Basel
Summary:
Swiss plants, butterflies and birds have moved 8 to 42 meters uphill between 2003 and 2010, scientists report. Climate warming is changing the distribution of plants and animals worldwide. Recently it was shown that in the past two decades, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively.

Leopard’s bane (Doronicum clusii). This plant, among others, has been noted as moving uphill due to rising temperatures.
Credit: Jörg Schmill

Swiss plants, butterflies and birds have moved 8 to 42 meters uphill between 2003 and 2010, as scientists from the University of Basel write in the online journal PLoS One.

Related Articles


Climate warming is changing the distribution of plants and animals worldwide. Recently it was shown that in the past two decades, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively.

Tobias Roth and Valentin Amrhein from the University of Basel now found that in Switzerland, plant, butterfly and bird species also moved uphill. At an altitude of 500 meters, plants have on average shifted uphill 8 meters, butterflies 38 meters and birds 42 meters. The study was based on data collected between 2003 and 2010 in 214 sample areas up to an altitude of 3000 meters, covering all major ecosystems of Central Europe.

"An average of eight meters difference in altitude in eight years and across all plant species is quite impressive for the often not very mobile plant communities," says Valentin Amrhein. "The results show that the biological impacts of climate change will not only become apparent in the long term. Animals and plants are already today adapting to the rising temperatures at a surprising pace."

Different Trends above the Tree Line

While birds also moved uphill at higher altitudes, plants and butterflies surprisingly showed no significant changes in altitude above the tree line. Contrary to the developments in lower altitudes, alpine plants and butterflies even showed a tendency towards a downhill movement. Explanations for this phenomenon have yet to be found. "It is possible that land-use related changes in habitats near the tree line outweigh the effects of climate warming. For example, many alpine pastures have been abandoned in recent years," says Tobias Roth. "It is also possible that alpine plants are better protected against changing climatic conditions, due to the highly varied surface of alpine landscapes."

In any case, the fact that plant and butterfly communities have changed towards warm-dwelling species at low altitudes but remained relatively stable at higher altitudes cannot be explained with different temperature developments across altitudes. The scientists also studied data on air temperature of 14 meteorological stations: During the 16 years between 1995 and 2010, the summer temperatures in Switzerland rose by about 0.07 °C per year at all altitudes.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Tobias Roth, Matthias Plattner, Valentin Amrhein. Plants, Birds and Butterflies: Short-Term Responses of Species Communities to Climate Warming Vary by Taxon and with Altitude. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (1): e82490 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082490

Cite This Page:

Universität Basel. "Climate changes distribution of plants, animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109003915.htm>.
Universität Basel. (2014, January 9). Climate changes distribution of plants, animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109003915.htm
Universität Basel. "Climate changes distribution of plants, animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109003915.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) — The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Buzz60 (Nov. 20, 2014) — Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer teamed up with entomologist Aaron Pomerantz and others to investigate a predatory glow worm found in the Amazon. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
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