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Some animals are not taking advantage of warmer real estate

Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Many cold-blooded animals won't use global warming as an opportunity to expand their habitat ranges, according to a recent study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Researchers analyzed the temperature ranges of 142 species, including types of fish, frogs and lizards, and found that many land animals were equipped to survive in warmer regions but tended not to live there.

"As my colleague and lead author Jennifer Sunday puts it, they're not filling their warm real estate," said Amanda Bates, a marine biologist who worked on the study.

While cold-blooded ocean animals tended to live in temperature zones suited to their physiology, many land animals, such as lizards, were not using warm regions closer to the equator.

Researchers say one reason could be low rainfall in the hotter areas.

As the planet gets warmer, ocean animals are likely to migrate away from the equator in a predictable way, while the movement of land animals will be less organized, the study said.

"We still don't have a clear picture of why animals live where they do on our planet," Bates said. "That's information we're going to need if we want to manage the effects of climate change on species distribution" (Stephen Pincock,  ABC, May 28). -- LJ


Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net. 202-628-6500

 

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