Navigation Links
Tropical rainforest and mountain species may be threatened by global warming
Date:10/9/2008

STORRS, CT Contrary to conventional wisdom, tropical plant and animal species living in some of the warmest places on Earth may be threatened by global warming, according to an article by University of Connecticut Ecologist Robert K. Colwell and colleagues in this week's (Oct. 10) issue of Science magazine.

As Earth's climate has warmed in recent decades, the geographical ranges of well-studied bird, butterfly, and plant species in the US and Europe have moved northward, following the gradual northward shift of their familiar climates. Other studies have shown that species in the US and Europe have shifted to higher elevations, as temperature zones on mountains have moved upward.

In contrast, surprisingly little attention has been given to the effects of warming climate on tropical plants and animals. Colwell's article in Science magazine this week may change that.

The report points out that tropical climates have warmed too (more than 3/4 degrees Centigrade [1.4 degrees Fahrenheit] since 1975), and climate models predict an additional increase of more than 3 degrees Centigrade (nearly 6 degrees Fahrenheit) over the next century in the tropical forests of Central and South America. This much warming would shift temperature zones uphill about 600 m (nearly 2000 feet) in elevation above sea level. Tropical species, like those at higher latitudes, will likely be driven to higher elevations by these changes, following the climate zones they are suited for.

Working their way up the forested slopes of a Costa Rican volcano rising nearly 3000 m (10,000 ft) above the coastal plain, Colwell and colleagues have collected data on the altitudinal ranges of nearly 2000 species of plants and insects.

They report that about half these species have such narrow altitudinal ranges that a 600 m (2000 ft) uphill shift would move these species into territory completely new to them, beyond the upper limits of their current ranges on the mountainside. But many may be unable to shift most mountainside forests in the tropics have been severely fragmented by human land use.

Meanwhile, tropical lowland rainforests, the warmest forests on Earth, face a challenge that has no parallel at higher latitudes. If the current occupants of the lowlands shift uphill, tracking their accustomed climate, there are few replacements waiting in the wings, currently living in even warmer places.

According to Colwell and colleagues, the threat of lowland attrition from warming climates faces about half the species they studied in Costa Ricaunless lowland species retain tolerances to higher temperatures developed millions of years ago when the world was much warmer.

Only further research can estimate the risk, but Colwell's report indicates that the impact of global climate change on some tropical rainforest and mountain species could be significant.


'/>"/>

Contact: Colin Poitras
colin.poitras@uconn.edu
860-486-4656
University of Connecticut
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Tropical insects go the distance to inform rainforest conservation
2. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
3. Tropical crab invades Georgia oyster reefs -- but the long-term impact cant be predicted
4. Spatial patterns in tropical forests can help to understand their high biodiversity
5. Researchers discover forests of endangered tropical kelp
6. If corn is biofuels king, tropical maize may be emperor
7. Why do so many species live in tropical forests and coral reefs?
8. Time-sharing tropical birds key to evolutionary mystery
9. Springer launches Tropical Plant Biology
10. No convincing evidence for decline in tropical forests
11. Tropical soils impede landmine detection
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients ... a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a ... the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key ... body mass index, and, when they opt in, share ... visit to a local retail location at no cost. ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type ... Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... healthier lives through the development of innovative products and ... the United States denied its petition ... claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") ... established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with The ... cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding will ... levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer patients ... will then be employed to support the design ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in ... peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article on ... biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 A person commits a crime, and ... to track the criminal down. An outbreak of ... Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a ... of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome ...
Breaking Biology Technology: