Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Climate change and biodiversity

Animals have been used as bioindicators since canaries were taken down into coalmines (and probably long before that.) Now there is increased concern about the impact on animal and plant species of climate change, there are numerous projects and studies focused on biodiversity.
  1. A virtual book of all life on Earth is being created by UK and US scientists.
    The online reference work will create a detailed world map of flora and fauna and track changes in biodiversity ... Over time the database will log shifts in species and other data such as changes in the density of forests and when plants first flower. The backers of the idea hope that the vast, virtual book of life will eventually be comparable to the global system used to watch for and record earthquakes.
  2. More dolphins, porpoises and whales could be at risk from the effects of climate change than was previously thought, a new study has claimed.
    An Aberdeen University scientist said rising sea temperatures could affect 88% of areas where cetaceans are found. Dr Colin MacLeod said areas of suitable habitat for many were likely to shrink, meaning fewer animals.
    And he warned a decline in habitat could be so dramatic that it could increase the extinction risk for some.
  3. A bumblebee which is extinct in the UK is to be reintroduced from New Zealand under plans being announced. The short-haired bumblebee was exported from the UK to New Zealand on the first refrigerated lamb boats in the late 19th Century to pollinate clover crops. It was last seen in the UK in 1988, but populations on the other side of the world have survived.

All these stories from the BBC Science and Environment web page (RSS feed).

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