"Adapt, Move or Die? Plants and Animals Face New Pressures in a Warming World"

"New research finds many will have a tough road ahead."

"The world continues to hit alarming records. Last year was the warmest since record keeping began in 1850. And the 10 warmest years have all occurred in the past decade. The implications for life on Earth are vast. More than 1 million species are already at risk of extinction — a number that’s likely to increase with climate pressures.

Researchers are rushing to understand how a quickly changing planet affects myriad species of plants and animals. One thing is certain: There’s still much we don’t know. Frogs, for example, are succumbing to mass mortalities as heat waves push temperatures above thresholds they can tolerate. But researchers found that we don’t even know the heat tolerance for 93% of described amphibian species.

One of the things we do know is that people need to act quickly to halt climate emissions, and while they do, many plants and animals have just two choices: adapt or move.

Some species are already doing this. “Dark-colored dragonflies are getting paler in order to reduce the amount of heat they absorb from the sun,” wrote biologist Michael P. Moore and evolutionary ecologist James T. Stroud in The Conversation. “Mustard plants are flowering earlier to take advantage of earlier snowmelt. Lizards are becoming more cold-tolerant to handle the extreme variability of our new climate.”"

Tara Lohan reports for The Revelator March 11, 2024.

Source: The Revelator, 03/12/2024