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Maps show expected redistribution of global species due to climate change
Date:2/10/2014

g author Elvira Poloczanska, a research scientist with the Climate Adaptation Flagship of Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Brisbane. "For example, the dry, flat continental interior of Australia is a hot, arid region where species already exist close to the margin of their thermal tolerances. Some species driven south from monsoonal northern Australia in the hope of cooler habitats may perish in one of the harshest places on Earth."

The maps generated from the study data not only show areas where plants and animals may struggle to find new homes in a changing climate but also provide crucial information for targeting conservation efforts information that could help conservation planners think more strategically about how best to manage biodiversity for future sustainability.

"One of the greatest challenges these days is how to help species survive in the face of climate change," said co-author Ben Halpern, a professor at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. "The maps we produced offer a key tool for helping guide these decisions. For example, where species are likely to face climate traps, we will need to explore less traditional actions, such as assisted migration, where people help move species past barriers into their preferred environment."

"From other work, we know that many species have shifted where they live in ways that match the pattern of temperature change over the last 60 years," Kappel noted. "This gives us confidence that we can base conservation planning on what we've learned about what's already happening."

According to Halpern, it's not a question of whether climate change is happening, but what we can do about it. "The writing is on the wall: species have already started moving in response to climate change," he said. "We can either sit back and watch as species get squeezed out of existence and food webs reshuf
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Contact: Julie Cohen
julie.cohen@ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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