New research challenges traditional perceptions of contemporary climate as sole determiner of richness of species.
The climate is changing! But how does that affect nature? New research challenges traditional perceptions of contemporary climate as sole determiner of richness of species.
An international research team led by Professor Carsten Rahbek from Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, questions traditional beliefs that contemporary climate alone determines richness of species, that is, how life is distributed on earth. The current issue of Science magazine highlights the research in Editor’s choice.
The research team argues that contemporary climate apparently only affects the geographical biodiversity of a few of the most widespread species – species that are rarely threatened by extinction. Evolutionary history, on the contrary, seems to play a major role for the dispersion of the majority of species – including rare and endangered species. Science magazine uses this research to emphasise once again that long-term strategies is necessary to preserve the earth’s biodiversity.
Professor Carsten Rahbek agrees and says: “The research mentioned in Science shows that climatic impact on the distribution of biodiversity is different from what we used to think. It is very likely that contemporary climate has an effect on individual species, but not in the way commonly believed”.
The result stems from analyses of almost 3,000 bird species (app. one third of the world’s species), conducted by the research team at the Danish Center for Macroecology, located at the Department of Biology. The research was mentioned in Science - not only because of its remarkable result - but because the results are based on a whole new ‘type’ of statistical models, which for the first time has made it possible to test the impact of climate on the distribution of life directly.
Note: This article was taken from a news release by University of Copenhagen