Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Climate change may threaten Biodiversity in the tropics

Robert Colwell of the University of Conneticut analysed almost 2,000 varied species in Costa Rica and has fouond that a significant number will move from their normal environment to a completetely new area if temperatures increase significantly.

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The full article titled "Climate change may threaten biodiversity in tropics", By Julie Steenhuysen Reuters, is below:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Climate change may soon make the tropics too hot for many native species, which will be forced to head for higher ground to escape the heat, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

The study suggests climate change is not only threatening polar bears and other cold-loving species. It is putting heat-loving species at risk as well.

"We know the climate is getting warmer," said Robert Colwell of the University of Connecticut, whose research appears in the journal Science.

"If things continue as projected, there will be a 3 degree Celsius (5.4 degree Fahrenheit) warming in the Costa Rican tropics within the next century," he said.

Colwell and colleagues predict that as the climate in the tropics warms, thermal bands will move up the mountains by about 600 meters (yards) in elevation. "The current climate at 100 meters will be at 700 meters," he said in a telephone interview.

Colwell and colleagues analyzed data on nearly 2,000 species of plants, insects, and fungi in Costa Rica. His team thinks about half of these species would have to move to completely new territory, well beyond the upper ranges on the mountainside.

"If species are stressed by the heat, they will do better in their accustomed climate zone. We expect ranges to move up the mountain as has been documented already in Europe and the United States," he said.

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