Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




FLORA AND FAUNA
Top predators key to extinctions as planet warms
by Staff Writers
New Haven, CT (SPX) Jun 22, 2012


This is a wolf, and a top predator, in Denali National Park, Alaska. Climate change is likely to have strong effects on top consumer species like these and, in turn, affect many more species within the natural community. Credit: Tom Meier, National Park Service.

Global warming may cause more extinctions than predicted if scientists fail to account for interactions among species in their models, Yale and UConn researchers argue in Science.

"Currently, most models predicting the effects of climate change treat species separately and focus only on climatic and environmental drivers," said Phoebe Zarnetske, the study's primary author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. "But we know that species don't exist in a vacuum. They interact with each other in ways that deeply affect their viability."

Zarnetske said the complexity of "species interaction networks" discourages their inclusion in models predicting the effects of climate change. Using the single-species, or "climate envelope," approach, researchers have predicted that 15 percent to 37 percent of species will be faced with extinction by 2050.

But research has shown that top consumers-predators and herbivores-have an especially strong effect on many other species. In a warming world, these species are "biotic multipliers," increasing the extinction risk and altering the ranges of many other species in the food web.

"Climate change is likely to have strong effects on top consumers. As a result, these effects can ripple through an entire food web, multiplying extinction risks along the way," said Dave Skelly, a co-author of the study and professor of ecology at Yale.

The paper argues that focusing on these biotic multipliers and their interactions with other species is a promising way to improve predictions of the effects of climate change, and recent studies support this idea.

On Isle Royale, an island in Lake Superior, rising winter temperatures and a disease outbreak caused wolf populations to decline and the number of moose to surge, leading to a decline in balsam fir trees.

Studies in the rocky intertidal of the North American Pacific Coast show that higher temperatures altered the ranges of mussel species and their interaction with sea stars, their top predators, resulting in lower species diversity.

And in Arctic Greenland, studies show that without caribou and muskoxen as top herbivores, higher temperatures can lead to decreased diversity in tundra plants and, in turn, affect many other species dependent on them.

"Species interactions are necessary for life on Earth. We rely on fisheries, timber, agriculture, medicine and a variety of other ecosystem services that result from intact species interactions," said Zarnetske.

"Humans have already altered these important species interactions, and climate change is predicted to alter them further. Incorporating these interactions into models is crucial to informed management decisions that protect biodiversity and the services it provides."

Multispecies models with species interactions, according to the paper, would enable tracking of the biotic multipliers by following how changes in the abundance of target species, such as top consumers, alter the composition of communities of species. But there needs to be more data.

"Collecting this type of high-resolution biodiversity data will not be easy. However, insights from such data could provide us with the ability to predict and thus avoid some of the negative effects of climate change on biodiversity," said Mark Urban, a co-author and an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut.

The paper, "Biotic Multipliers of Climate Change Effects," was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Yale Climate and Energy Institute.

.


Related Links
Yale University
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





FLORA AND FAUNA
Predators Have Outsized Influence Over Habitats
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 21, 2012
A grasshopper's change in diet to high-energy carbohydrates while being hunted by spiders may affect the way soil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to research results published this week in the journal Science. Grasshoppers like to munch on nitrogen-rich grass because it stimulates their growth and reproduction. But when spiders enter the picture, grasshoppers cope wi ... read more


FLORA AND FAUNA
Population displacement during disasters predicted using mobile data

Japan sorry for not using US radiation map

Nearly 15 million people displaced by disasters in 2011

Experts discuss better nuclear disaster communication

FLORA AND FAUNA
Study: Handwriting in decline with tech

E-book trend slow at US libraries: study

Samsung launches new phone in US, taking on Apple

China defends rare earths policy

FLORA AND FAUNA
Chinese submersible aims for 23,000 feet

Restoring Streams Helps Winter Songbirds

Study suggests expanded concept of 'urban watershed'

Oracle chief buys Hawaiian island

FLORA AND FAUNA
Arctic climate more vulnerable than thought, maybe linked to Antarctic ice-sheet behavior

Climate drilling in the Arctic Circle

Elephant seals help uncover slower-than-expected Antarctic melting

Remote Siberian Lake Holds Clues to Arctic - and Antarctic - Climate Change

FLORA AND FAUNA
Drought hits Argentine corn and soy crops

Link between vitamin C and twins can increase seed production in crops

Over 30 years of global soil moisture observations for climate applications

Key part of plants' rapid response system revealed

FLORA AND FAUNA
5.9 quake hits Indonesia's Sumatra: USGS

Chris becomes season's first Atlantic hurricane

Thousands evacuated as storm strikes Taiwan

UN says Afghan quakes killed 75

FLORA AND FAUNA
Nigerian leader sacks security adviser, defence minister

'I was shot for defying Kagame', says Rwanda's ex-army boss

Rwanda's ex-army boss testifies of betrayal in murder bid

Lions on the loose in Kenyan capital's urban jungle

FLORA AND FAUNA
Google sets out to save dying languages

Adaptable decision making in the brain

The Rare Biosphere of the Human Body

Expanding waistlines threaten the planet: researchers




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement