Nov 11, 2016

The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to people

Brett R. Scheffers, Luc De Meester, Tom C. L. Bridge, Ary A. Hoffmann, John M. Pandolfi, Richard T. Corlett, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Paul Pearce-Kelly, Kit M. Kovacs, David Dudgeon, Michela Pacifici, Carlo Rondinini, Wendy B. Foden, Tara G. Martin et al

We’re already seeing salamanders shrink in size, we’re seeing migratory birds change their migratory routes, we’re seeing species interbreeding now, because of just a small degree of warming.

James Watson, University of Queensland professor and senior author of the report

  • Reviews the set of impacts that have been observed across genes, species, and ecosystems to reveal a world already undergoing substantial change
  • Identifies a set of core ecological processes (32 in terrestrial and 31 each in marine and freshwater ecosystems) that underpin ecosystem functioning and support services to people
  • Finds that of the 94 processes considered, 82% show evidence of impact from climate change in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Finds that examples of observed impacts from meta-analyses and case studies go beyond well-established shifts in species ranges and changes to phenology and population dynamics to include disruptions that scale from the gene to the ecosystem