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Smithsonian perspective: Biodiversity in a warmer world
Date:10/9/2008

ld could cause severe extinctions in the future.

Extant species that evolved in warmer climates should retain the ability to tolerate warmer climates in the future, as argued in a 2001 issue of Science by Eldredge Bermingham, director of STRI and Christopher Dick, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

It is not clear which factors (temperature, moisture, competition with other species, habitat limitation) are the primary causes of tropical extinctions. Drought tolerance, however, definitely limits tropical plant distributions. This was reported in the May 2007 issue of Nature by Bettina Engelbrecht, research associate and lecturer at San Francisco State University, and colleagues.

Condit and Svenning also cite their own studies from the tropics and temperate areas where other drivers of extinction are at work. They call for more discoveries of the sort that often result when researchers are brought together in places like STRI's facilities in Panama, where camaraderie fuels critical ecological research within an intellectual context that encourages a deep time and wide world perspective.


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Contact: Beth King
kingb@si.edu
703-487-3770 x8216
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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