Friday, August 19, 2011

Plants and animals migrating upward as climate changes

Across the globe, plants and animals are creeping, crawling, slithering and winging to higher altitudes and latitudes as temperatures climb.

Moreover, the greater the warming in any given region, the farther its plants and animals have migrated, according to the largest analysis to date of the rapidly shifting ranges of species in Europe, North America, Chile and Malaysia.

“The more warming there’s been in an area, the more you would expect a species to move, and the more they have moved,” said Chris D. Thomas, a conservation biologist at the University of York in England, who led the work published Thursday in the journal Science. “This more or less puts to bed the issue of whether these shifts are related to climate change. There isn’t any obvious alternative explanation for why species should be moving poleward in studies around the world.” (more)