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New study to examine effects and threats of climate change on plants and animals in Andes
Date:12/21/2010

itions during the next two years; and computer modeling of short- and medium-term (10- to 20-year) climate scenarios. Land use types and patterns will be examined using high-resolution Landsat satellite imagery. Birds, dung beetles and more than a dozen taxonomic groups of plants will serve as project proxies, or representative study samples, for terrestrial ecosystem diversity and vulnerability to climate change. The species chosen for this study are all of ecological importance and have bioindicator properties, meaning they change physiologically, behaviorally or chemically in response to alterations or pollutants in the environment. Participants estimate that their research will cover 500 to 1,000 plant species in each study area, between 500 and 1,000 bird species, and up to 300 to 400 dung beetles.

Local community members will also be consulted regarding the ecosystem goods and services most valuable to them, to determine the ecosystems on which they most depend. All study information will then be integrated into a geographic information system (GIS) tool made available as an interactive web portal.

"This analysis of biodiversity's climate vulnerability can be considered a multidisciplinary pilot project, where we aim at providing methods that later can be used on a broader scale, both geographically and taxonomically," said Dr. Peter Jrgensen, associate curator, Missouri Botanical Garden. "It is the first such project in the Andes, a biological hot spot where thousands of species are already in danger of extinction, and as such also an important contribution toward developing strategies for adapting to climate change in the two studied regions."


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Contact: Karen Hill
karen.hill@mobot.org
314-577-0254
Missouri Botanical Garden
Source:Eurekalert

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