Azara Blog: Some animals not adapting well to rapid climate change

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Date published: 2005/11/04

The BBC says:

Some animals are responding to climate change in ways which could threaten their survival, a new study finds.

Scientists showed that migration and breeding of the great tit, puffin, red admiral and other creatures are moving out of step with food supplies.

The researchers say the rapid pace of climate change, together with pressures on habitat, make it difficult for species to adapt.

The study is published in the Royal Society's journal Proceedings B.

A large number of studies in recent years have shown that the behaviour of plants and animals is changing in response to climatic alteration.

Birds are migrating at different times, flowers and larvae are emerging earlier, and fish and insects are moving into new ranges.

The key question is how much this matters - whether these changes impair the prospects for these species, or whether they are appropriate adaptations which will ensure survival.

Indeed there is nothing much new here, just some further elucidation. Of course any ecological niche that is emptied (e.g. by a species going extinct) is almost certain to be occupied fairly quickly by something else. Whether this is a disaster (e.g. losing many species) remains to be seen: most people believe this phenomenon is happening, so we are going to find out.

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