From: ScienceDaily
Published January 12, 2014 08:24 AM

How plants respond to climate change

Swiss plants, butterflies and birds have moved 8 to 42 meters uphill between 2003 and 2010, as scientists from the University of Basel write in the online journal PLoS One.

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Climate warming is changing the distribution of plants and animals worldwide. Recently it was shown that in the past two decades, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively.

Tobias Roth and Valentin Amrhein from the University of Basel now found that in Switzerland, plant, butterfly and bird species also moved uphill. At an altitude of 500 meters, plants have on average shifted uphill 8 meters, butterflies 38 meters and birds 42 meters. The study was based on data collected between 2003 and 2010 in 214 sample areas up to an altitude of 3000 meters, covering all major ecosystems of Central Europe.

"An average of eight meters difference in altitude in eight years and across all plant species is quite impressive for the often not very mobile plant communities," says Valentin Amrhein. 

"The results show that the biological impacts of climate change will not only become apparent in the long term. Animals and plants are already today adapting to the rising temperatures at a surprising pace."

Leopard's Bane image via Shutterstock.

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