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

ening 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.


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

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