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As the Atlantic warms, mackerel have spread north. Image: NOAA
A new study from the University of Florida and the University of Tasmania found that climate change is currently forcing species to migrate from their historic ranges and its leaving communities unprepared for these new species. As the UF blog explained, “scientists predict species will generally move toward the poles or higher elevations as they search for cooler climates, but it’s hard to know what specific species will do—and how humans will respond.”
What the Science Says: As Brett Scheffers, assistant professor of wildlife ecology and conservation in the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences explained, “What we do know is that they will move, and that presents challenges for people who make decisions about how to manage wildlife. It used to be that you could draw a box around a species and say, ‘this species lives here,’ but we are going to see them leaking out of those boxes.”
The study’s authors hypothesized that past example of species movement could provide insight into how we might manage mass movement of species affected by climate change.
Building on Past Science:Previous studies have shown that half of all species (both plant and animal) are on the move as a result of climate change. The study done by the University of Florida and the University of Tasmania focused on how people can better prepare for a mass migration of animal species.
Why This Matters: Increased migration as a result of climate change will create problems for people who manage wildlife–as it’s incredibly difficult to predict how the introduction of new species will affect an ecosystem and community. Some species we think of as good, such as tortoises or pheasants and worthy of our protection while other species like coyotes are routinely culled because we view them as pests and don’t properly manage their numbers. The human response to species migration will be key to ensuring that animals seeking new homes can coexist with people and native wildlife as climate change continues to drive them out of their historic ranges.
“You can’t find a Utahn who doesn’t really care about clean air and clean water.” @RepJohnCurtis said his goal is to find ways “to make them feel more comfortable [politically] talking about it.” @LeeDavi49903322 #climate https://t.co/jVpPBJq0GE — CCL Salt Lake City (@CCLsaltlake) February 19, 2021 By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Representative John Curtis of […]
Climate change is the biggest threat facing the world, and yesterday’s United Nations Security Council meeting was focused on the topic. United States climate envoy John Kerry, who participated in the virtual meeting, warned that ignoring the crisis and its threats to global security would mean “marching forward to what is almost tantamount to a mutual suicide pact.”
Why this Matters: Global food security, poverty rates, and public health are all negatively impacted by climate change. These destabilizing forces are already driving people to migrate and shifting power balances on the international stage.
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