As the planet gets hotter, animal and plant species around the world will be faced with new, potentially unpredictable living conditions, which could alter ecosystems in unprecedented ways.
As the planet gets hotter, animal and plant species around the world will be faced with new, potentially unpredictable living conditions, which could alter ecosystems in unprecedented ways. A new study from McGill University researchers, in collaboration with researchers in Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Denmark, Australia, South Africa and other universities in Canada, investigates the importance of temperature in determining where animal species are currently found to better understand how a warming climate might impact where they might live in the future.
To find out, the researchers tested the role of temperature as a factor that could limit a species’ potential habitat range. They compared the temperatures and areas where 460 cold-blooded animal species currently live to the temperatures and areas where they could live based on their tolerance to temperatures.
They found that, unlike species living in the ocean, land animals such as reptiles, amphibians and insects have habitat ranges that are less directly impacted by temperature. The higher a species is in latitude, the lower its tendency to live in areas near the equator with temperatures they could tolerate, the researchers say. This means that, instead of tolerance to temperature, negative interactions with other species – like with competitors or parasites – could be what keep these species away from this potential habitat.
Read more at: McGill University
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