Washington: Many species will not be able to adapt fast enough to survive climate change, with amphibians, reptiles and plants being particularly vulnerable, scientists have found. A study of more than 250 plants and animals suggests their ability to adapt to changes in rainfall and temperature will be vastly outpaced by future climate change, reports PTI.
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According to the researchers, tropical species are at higher risk than those in temperate zones. Some animals might be able to migrate to new locations to cope with rising temperatures, but others living in isolated areas such as in nature reserves or on mountains or islands cannot move.
Researchers from University of Arizona analyzed 266 populations of plants and animals, including insects, amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. Rates of change in climatic niches (the conditions where they can survive) were much slower than rates of projected climate change, by more than 200,000 fold for temperature, ‘BBC News’ reported.
“Overall, our results show that rates of climatic niche change among populations of plants and animals are dramatically slower than projected rates of future climate change,” researchers said. Mammals and birds might be better placed to survive than amphibians and reptiles, because they have the ability to regulate their own body temperatures, said John Wiens, of the University of Arizona.
While some species might be able to move to higher latitudes or elevations to survive, for a lot of organisms, that is not an option, researchers said. The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.