Scientists from Australia, the United States and UK joined forces to outline a framework for deciding how and when people might intervene to move species to more favourable locations. An article -- “Moving with the times: assisted colonization and rapid climate change”-- published on Friday 18 July in Science outlines their new framework, and suggests that our failure to act could consign some species to extinction.
Professor Chris Thomas, from the Department of Biology at the University of York, and his colleagues identified a series of steps that might be taken for each species. If there is low to moderate risk of extinction from climate change, it may be sufficient to bolster conventional conservation measures, for example by increasing the amount of habitat available or reducing persecution.
However, this looks increasingly likely to be inadequate for many species. The main alternatives are to maintain species in captivity, or to find new places to move them to. Breeding species in captivity can only save a very small number, though seed banks, or frozen eggs and sperm could protect more. The scientists, led by Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland, say that such options are better than nothing, though they do not fulfill many of the reasons for protecting biodiversity in the first place. So, they conclude that translocation is a serious option.
Professor Thomas said: “Moving species carries potential risks to other species, as well as benefits to the species being moved, so we have to be careful to weigh up the pros and cons on a case by case basis. But not to act may represent a decision to allow a species to dwindle to extinction.”
In the 19th Century, Acclimatisation Societies were formed in many of the then- European colonies specifically with the aim of establishing ‘familiar’ species in new regions.
“Moving species between continents caused all sorts of problems, and has given translocation a bad name amongst conservation organisations” Professor Thomas said.
“But this is not what we are suggesting. Ecology has moved on a long way since then, and we now know that moving species within the same general region (e.g., from France to Britain) hardly ever causes serious biological problems. The time is fast approaching when we need to identify the species that might need to be protected – from a European or global perspective – within Britain, and then set about moving them here.”
The scientists agree that minimising the amount of climate change that takes place (climate mitigation) is the most important issue to address. “We can go so far with helping species to adapt to climate change, but ultimately we are not going to be successful if high levels of climate change take place,” Professor Thomas added.
Professor Chris Thomas | alfa
When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy