Study: Many mammals won’t be able to outrun #climate change

Posted on May 16, 2012

Primates such as howler monkeys are least able to keep pace with climate change.

Hundreds of species of mammals in the Western Hemisphere may not be able to migrate with the projected speed of climate change, according to a new study released Monday.

"As they have in response to past climatic changes, many species will shift their distributions in response to modern climate change," the authors write in the study. "However, due to the unprecedented rapidity of projected climatic changes, some species may not be able to move their ranges fast enough to track shifts in suitable climates and associated habitats."

The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was led by Carrie Schloss, an ecologist at the University of Washington.

The study looked at the dispersal speeds of 493 mammals, and found that in some places, as many as 39% may not be able to keep pace with climate change.

Dispersal is the movement of an animal away from its home range, without anticipated return, according to Schloss.

"In our research, we consider natal dispersal, which involves the movement of a juvenile away from its home range before its first reproductive event, for example to establish a territory or to find a mate," Schloss wrote in an e-mail.

In the USA, Scholss says that mammals such as shrews and moles are expected to be the least able to keep pace with climate change, likely to due to their slow dispersal speed. Overall, across the Western Hemisphere, she says primate species are the least likely to keep pace with climate change compared to other mammals.

"The primates will likely experience reductions in their range size, due to reductions in the area that will be climatically suitable in the future, and also due to their inability to expand into all of the area that will likely be climatically suitable," according to Schloss.

Read source

Posted in: Climate Change