Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate change may threaten more than one million species with extinction

08.01.2004


Climate change could drive more than a quarter of land animals and plants into extinction, according to a major new study published in tomorrow’s edition of the journal Nature

The study estimates that climate change projected to take place between now and the year 2050 will place 15 to 37 percent of all species in several biodiversity-rich regions at risk of extinction. The scientists believe there is a high likelihood of extinctions due to climate change in other regions, as well.

Scientists studied six regions around the world representing 20 percent of the planet’s land area and projected the future distributions of 1,103 animal and plant species. Three different climate change scenarios were considered – minimal, mid-range and maximum, as was the ability of some species to successfully "disperse," or move to a different area, thus preventing climate change-induced extinction. The study used computer models to simulate the ways species’ ranges are expected to move in response to changing temperatures and climate. It represents the largest collaboration of scientists to ever study this problem.



"This study makes it clear that climate change is the most significant new threat for extinctions this century," said co-author Lee Hannah, Climate Change Biology Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) at Conservation International (CI). "The combination of increasing habitat loss, already recognized as the largest single threat to species, and climate change, is likely to devastate the ability of species to move and survive."

These forecasts are for species predicted to go extinct eventually based on climate change between now and 2050, but do not suggest that these species will go extinct by then.

The study concluded that the minimum expected, or inevitable, climate change scenarios for 2050 produce fewer projected extinctions (18% averaging across the different methods) than mid-range projections (24%), and about half those predicted under maximum expected climate change (35%). Therefore, 15-20% of all land species could be saved from extinction if the minimum scenario of climate warming occurs.

"If these projections are extrapolated globally and to other groups of land animals and plants, our analyses suggest that well over a million species could be threatened with extinction as a result of climate change," said study lead author Chris Thomas of the University of Leeds.

Small fluctuations in climate can affect a species’ ability to remain in its original habitat. Slight increases in temperature can force a species to move toward its preferred, usually cooler, climate range. If development and habitat destruction have already altered those habitats, the species often have no safe haven. According to Hannah, this study underscores the need for a two-part conservation strategy.

"First, greenhouse gasses must be reduced dramatically, and a rapid switch to new, cleaner technologies could help save innumerable species," he said. "Second, we must design conservation strategies that recognize that climate change is going to affect entire ecosystems, and therefore have to prepare effective conservation measures immediately."

For this study, CABS at CI worked with the National Botanical Institute of South Africa to model more than 300 plant species in South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region, located on the country’s southern tip. In that region, fully 30 to 40 percent of South African Proteaceae, for example, is forecast to go extinct as a result of climate change between now and 2050. Proteaceae is a family of flowering plants that includes South Africa’s national flower, the King Protea, as well as the daystar and the pincushions.

The Cape Floristic Region is considered one of the world’s 25 "biodiversity hotspots," areas with a large number of unique species under tremendous threat.

Global mean temperatures have increased about one degree Fahrenheit over the past century with accelerated warming over the past two decades. Scientists attribute the recent rise of global temperature to human induced activities that have altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The buildup of greenhouse gases – primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – traps heat, acting much like a greenhouse in the atmosphere.

Brad Phillips | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.biodiversityscience.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Northeast-Atlantic fish stocks: Recovery driven by improved management
04.02.2019 | Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Bundesforschungsinstitut für Ländliche Räume, Wald und Fischerei

nachricht New mathematical model can help save endangered species
14.01.2019 | University of Southern Denmark

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: (Re)solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, a so-called jet, emerging from the only gravitational wave event involving two neutron stars observed so far. With its high sensitivity and excellent performance, the 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg played an important role in the observations.

In August 2017, two neutron stars were observed colliding, producing gravitational waves that were detected by the American LIGO and European Virgo detectors....

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

JILA researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

22.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Understanding high efficiency of deep ultraviolet LEDs

22.02.2019 | Materials Sciences

Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress

22.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>