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Common garden plant threatened by climate change

Cyclamen, a common, pretty garden flower, is at risk of extinction because of climate change.

In a study published today in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, researchers show, using mathematical modelling, that the ideal climate for Cyclamen will become increasingly rare and might have totally disappeared by the 2050’s. Some species of Cyclamen are adaptable enough and could survive climate change, but many would probably disappear.

Chris Yesson and Alastair Culham, from the University of Reading in the UK built mathematical models based on the current distribution of the 21 different species of Cyclamen, in order to predict the impact of climate change on Cyclamen within the next 50 years.

Yesson and Culham identified distinct climatic niches – geographic areas with the ideal climate - for different species of Cyclamen. Most Cyclamen species thrive in a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters, but many are found in areas with much harsher climatic conditions. Yesson and Culham show that climatic niches are likely to decrease for all species of Cyclamen, and by more than 60% for most species.

Yesson and Culham conclude: “Many of these species are considered to be at high risk of extinction due to climate change.”

Juliette Savin | alfa
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