Thursday, September 07, 2006

The extinction of the northern animals

Animals are shifting to higher elevations and more northern latitudes in the UK...
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | British species migrate northward: "

... The York scientist said there was still great uncertainty as to how individual species would fare as the global climate continued to warm; but the prospects for many were not good, he argued.

Some would benefit from the higher temperatures and changes in vegetation that this would bring; others would struggle as their habitats were overtaken.

'Some 'cold-adapted northerner' species might be perfectly happy with a warmer climate until the 'heat-loving southerners' arrive and displace them,' he said.

'Global temperatures and CO2 levels are expected to be higher than those experienced for millions of years, such that few of the individual species that currently exist, and none of the combinations of species we currently possess, will have experienced such conditions previously.'

The results of the range change analysis were recently published in the journal Global Change Biology.
One would expect disruptions in competitive relationships everywhere; even when biomes are similar a transition from one to another is unlikely to happen in a perfectly synchronized fashion. The real extinctions will occur, however, at the extremes. If you're a northern animal, even if you enjoy the warmth, someone will migrate in who's adapted better to your new environment. We know from relatively recent research that seemingly small differences in adaptation to local environments in competing non-predator/prey species result in rapid exctinctions.

So many of our northern species will die off, and many new species will be created. The Creationists will get to see evolution occuring in their own backyards ...

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