Navigation Links
Study shows unexpected effect of climate change on body size for many different species
Date:10/17/2011

Assistant Professor David Bickford from the Department of Biological Sciences at the NUS Faculty of Science, and his collaborator Dr Jennifer Sheridan, have in a recent study, provided compelling evidence from scientific literature that climate change has an unexpected effect on body size for many different species all over the world.

The researchers found that increasing temperatures have had far-reaching effects on the body size of a wide array of species, from plants to top predators. Many organisms are already getting smaller and many more are likely to shrink as a result of continued climate warming. This trend is evident in numerous studies and has a firm theoretical foundation following fundamental ecological and metabolic rules that also enable scientists to test hypotheses about exactly how and why so many species are getting smaller, which ones might get even smaller in the future, and how it will affect society. The study by Asst Prof Bickford and Dr Jennifer Sheridan has been published online in Nature Climate Change on Sunday, 16 October.

Asst Prof Bickford is a lead scientist at the Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Lab in the NUS Department of Biological Sciences, and a faculty member in the University Scholars Programme at NUS. Dr Sheridan embarked on this study while she was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Lab.

On the uniqueness of this study, Asst Prof Bickford said: "We have summarised the data and provided a review of what has been shown to be occurring over the past few decades, as well as similar trends from fossil record that also demonstrate a cohesive trend. We have also provided the theories that explain the data, a set of reasonable ecological and metabolic rules that help explain why we see this repeat trend of species getting smaller. Many studies are corroborating this general trend, and as more studies come out saying the same thing, we need to understand why this trend is happening and what it will mean for society."

He added: "This is a very different frame of reference, scientifically. It implies that we are changing the planet's climate enough to have an effect on most species and we do not fully understand what will happen when species get smaller."

The effects of shrinking organisms will be varied and difficult to predict. The researchers pointed out that the main problem is not necessarily the shrinking itself, but the differential responses of species some are shrinking while others do not appear to be affected in the same manner. Why this is not universal is problematic because it has the potential to upset ecosystems and food webs more as organisms do not change together or in a similar way. Nonetheless, reduced size of individuals due to climate change will have repercussions across many food webs and potentially synergistic negative effects on biodiversity. Smaller plants mean fewer resources for consumers, which can lead to smaller body size and/or smaller populations of consumers. Ultimately, decreasing organism size could result in loss of biodiversity and effects that would not be beneficial to society, for example, crop harvests getting smaller or ecosystem services being compromised or limited.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Loh
karenloh@nus.edu.sg
65-660-11485
National University of Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
2. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
3. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
4. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
10. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
11. Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/21/2016)... VILNIUS, Lithuania , Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identification and object recognition technologies, today announced that ... for smart cards was submitted for the ... and successfully passed all the mandatory steps of ... III evaluation is a continuing test of fingerprint ...
(Date:11/17/2016)...  AIC announces that it has just released a new white paper authored by ... plus high speed data transfer storage solutions. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161116/440463 ... ... ... Setting up a high performance computing or HPC system can ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... 2021" report to their offering. ... ... by 2021 from USD 6.21 Billion in 2016, growing at a ... of the bioinformatics market is driven by the growing demand for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... company focused on discovery and development of precision treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, ... for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) inhibited the direct neurotoxic effect of prion-like forms ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 05, 2016 , ... This ... nanocrystals and cellulose nanofibrils. The composition claims are not limited to any ... directed to combination with polymers, carbon fibers, graphene, and other materials. A ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... , ... In anticipation of AxioMed’s exclusive cleanroom manufacturing facility ... Jake Lubinski will be traveling to Germany on December 6th. Mr. Lubinski will ... to discuss the benefits of a viscoelastic total disc replacement. , AxioMed received ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... - Resverlogix Corp. ("Resverlogix" or the "Company") (TSX:RVX) ... Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the Company,s Phase 3 ... has completed a second planned safety review and ... without any modifications. The DSMB reviewed available study ... concerns were identified. The DSMB will conduct additional ...
Breaking Biology Technology: