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 Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>