Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New approach can predict impact of climate change on species that can’t get out of the way

02.10.2014

When scientists talk about the consequences of climate change, it can mean more than how we human beings will be impacted by higher temperatures, rising seas and serious storms.

Plants and trees are also feeling the change, but they can’t move out of the way. Researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and University of Vermont have developed a new tool to overcome a major challenge of predicting how organisms may respond to climate change.

“When climate changes, organisms have three choices: migrate, adapt, or go extinct,” said lead author Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory. “We’re bringing the ability to quantify that adaptation piece that had largely been missing up to this point.”

Organisms are adapted to live in certain environments and not others. However climate change is forcing them to live in climates to which they may not be well adapted. Animals can move around, but things like plants and trees are rooted in the ground and must withstand climate change or die. 

Scientists have combined genetic analyses with new modeling approaches for the first time to help identify how well balsam popular trees are adapted to handle climate change. The scientists sampled the genetic code of 400 trees from 31 locations across northern North America and combined the genetic variations with computer modeling techniques to map how important genes differ within balsam poplar and to locate where trees may have the best chance of survival in a rapidly warming world.

Up until now, scientists have sought to quantify the risk of climate change to different species by mapping where those species occur today based on climate and then predicting where they may occur in the future. For instance, models for North American tree species often predict them to occur further north as climate warms.

“The problem with the approach is you’re assuming all individuals within a species are identical, like assuming all humans will respond identically to an illness,” said Fitzpatrick. “Some will respond differently given different genetic backgrounds. 

It turns out that all members of a species won’t react the same way to climate change. Some poplar trees are already adapted genetically to handle climate changes expected over the next few decades while others are not--just like some people a more likely to survive a disease than others. 

Increasingly local adaptation to climate is being studied at the molecular level by identifying which genes control climate adaptation and how these vary between individuals. This type of modeling of variation in genetic makeup represents an important advance in understanding how climate change may impact biodiversity.

“We’ve developed the techniques to associate genetic variation to climate and to map where individuals may and may not be pre-adapted to climates expected in the future,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s important to know where these places are. This gives us a way to link climate responses more closely to the biology than we were able to do previously.”

The study, “Ecological genomics meets community-level modeling of biodiversity: mapping the genomic landscape of current and future environmental adaptation,” was published by Matthew Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Steven Keller of the University of Vermont. It appeared in the October 1 issue of Ecology Letters.

Amy Pelsinsky | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.umces.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>