Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Modern global warming more damaging than in the past

28.08.2003


Global warming isn’t what it used to be.

"Some people will tell you that the planet has warmed in the past and that species always managed to adapt, so there’s no cause for alarm. Unfortunately that’s not the case," said Johannes Foufopoulos, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. Foufopoulos says new research illustrates major differences between global warming today and past natural climate fluctuations as they relate to species extinctions.

Generally, each species requires specific habitat and climate conditions to survive. In the past when climate changed, populations of a species would die out on one edge of their habitat range and expand into newly available habitat at the other edge. This colonization process was crucial for the survival of species during the unstable climate of the last ice ages.



However this broad movement of species, which has prevented large-scale extinctions in the past, is not likely to operate effectively in the modern world, he said.

Today, human activity has reduced previously continuous ecosystems to small fragments of natural habitat. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult for species to colonize areas that become habitable under a changing climate.

"Humankind has fragmented natural habitats to such a degree that many species will not be able to track a warming climate," Foufopoulos said. "There might be buildings, suburban sprawl or miles of roads in the way now."

Foufopoulos says that mobile species such as birds or butterflies, which can colonize new habitats with relative ease, stand the best chance of survival as temperatures increase. Sessile species, such as reptiles and amphibians, are at the greatest risk for extinction.

Foufopolous’ findings are based on research conducted in conjunction with Anthony Ives and Marm Kilpatrick at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Zoology, on reptile populations in the Mediterranean at the end of the last ice age. Because of the fragmentation of the islands, the reptiles were stuck in their individual habitats. As temperatures increased, more heat-tolerant reptiles were not able to replace those that died out on the island, and whole populations were lost. These areas experienced a net lost of diversity in marked contrast to the more typical continuous neighboring mainland areas.

Foufopolous says this process of species impoverishment foreshadows what is likely to happen with state parks and protected natural areas in the future, and directly contradict statements that downplay the dangers of global warming. "Human activity has made it very hard for some species to compensate for habitat lost to a changing climate," he says.

Foufopoulos presented his findings at the annual Ecological Society of America (ESA) conference in Savannah, Georgia earlier this month.


Founded in 1915, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a scientific, non-profit, organization with more than 7,800 members. Through ESA reports, journals, membership research, and expert testimony to Congress, ESA seeks to promote the responsible application of ecological data and principles to the solution of environmental problems (http://www.esa.org).

The U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment supports the protection of the Earth’s resources and the achievement of a sustainable society. Faculty and students strive to generate knowledge, develop innovative policies and refine new techniques through research and education (www.snre.umich.edu).

For more information about Foufopolos, visit http://www.snre.umich.edu/faculty-staff-directory/faculty-detail.php?faculty_id=180

Lara Magouirk | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo
http://www.esa.org
http://www.snre.umich.edu/faculty-staff-directory/faculty-detail.php?faculty_id=180

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

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: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>