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Study: Climate change already having a negative impact on some plant and animal species


Scientists have drawn a link between climate change and species decline (courtesy: Kevin Lafferty , U.S. Geological Survey)
Scientists have drawn a link between climate change and species decline (courtesy: Kevin Lafferty , U.S. Geological Survey)

Staff writers

January 1, 2013 — The blooming, breeding and migration patterns of some plants and animals are changing faster than scientists had anticipated, and the cause has been linked to climate change.

The report indicates that climate change continues to impact ecological systems, a net loss of global species’ diversity(courtesy: NOAA)
The report indicates that climate change continues to impact ecological systems, a net loss of global species’ diversity(courtesy: NOAA)

A new report authored by 60 scientsts suggests that climate change is influencing the life events of plants and animals at a faster rate than anticipated.

According to experts, unusually mild winters and record-breaking summer heat can throw off the internal clock of plants and animals leading prompting a change in breeding and migration.

At a press briefing, Nancy Grimm, a scientist at Arizona State University and lead author of the new report, said that this can impact survival by "bringing together species that haven't previously interacted and creating mismatches between animals and their food sources."

The study makes a series of key findings while drawing a direct link between animal population decline and climate change.

"The report clearly indicates that as climate change continues to impact ecological systems, a net loss of global species’ diversity, as well as major shifts in the provision of ecosystem services, are quite likely," said Michelle Staudinger, another lead author of the report and a USGS and University of Missouri scientist, adding that climate change has already prompted behavioural shifts in some marine fish.

"These changes will almost certainly continue, resulting in some local fisheries declining or disappearing," she said.

The entire report can be found online at the United States Global Change Research Program's website.


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