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Rapid Range Shifts of Species Associated with High Levels of Climate Warming

 
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Short Description:
Research based on a meta-analysis of 54 published studies regarding animal migrations finds that wildlife is migrating at a faster pace than in the past. The authors find that the rate at which they are migrating is related to the rate of climate change.

Abstract:
Article Abstract:

"The distributions of many terrestrial organisms are currently shifting in latitude or elevation in response to changing climate. Using a meta-analysis, we estimated that the distributions of species have recently shifted to higher elevations at a median rate of 11.0 meters per decade, and to higher latitudes at a median rate of 16.9 kilometers per decade. These rates are approximately two and three times faster than previously reported. The distances moved by species are greatest in studies showing the highest levels of warming, with average latitudinal shifts being generally sufficient to track temperature changes. However, individual species vary greatly in their rates of change, suggesting that the range shift of each species depends on multiple internal species traits and external drivers of change. Rapid average shifts derive from a wide diversity of responses by individual species."

Spot Check Number: 1786
Sponsor: University of York, Academia Sinica, Durham University, & Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Oxford
Researcher/Author: I-Ching Chen, Jane K. Hill, Ralf Ohlemüller, David B. Roy, & Chris D. Thomas
Animal Type: Various, Wildlife
Research Method: Literature Review
Geographic Region: Worldwide
Year Conducted: 2011
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