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Global Warming Increases Species Extinctions Worldwide


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#1 InfiniteNow

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 10:18 AM

Global warming has already caused extinctions in the most sensitive habitats and will continue to cause more species to go extinct over the next 50 to 100 years, confirms the most comprehensive study since 2003 on the effects of climate change on wild species worldwide by a University of Texas at Austin biologist.

Dr. Camille Parmesan’s synthesis also shows that species are not evolving fast enough to prevent extinction.

“This is absolutely the most comprehensive synthesis of the impact of climate change on species to date,” said Parmesan, associate professor of integrative biology. “Earlier synthesis were hampered from drawing broad conclusions by the relative lack of studies. Because there are now so many papers on this subject, we can start pulling together some patterns that we weren’t able to before.”

Parmesan reviewed more than 800 scientific studies on the effects of human-induced climate change on thousands of species.

“We are seeing stronger responses in species in areas with very cold-adapted species that have had strong warming trends, like Antarctica and the Arctic,” said Parmesan. “That’s something we expected a few years ago but didn’t quite have the data to compare regions.”

Previously published predictions, including those co-authored by Parmesan in a 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, were that species restricted to cold climate habitats like the Earth’s poles or mountain tops and with narrow temperature tolerances (for example, tropical corals) would be most affected by global warming. Less than a decade later, those predictions have been borne out.

The most sensitive species are going extinct and/or shifting their ranges geographically as their original habitats become inhospitable. The studies reviewed by Parmesan reveal this trend will continue.

“Some species that are adapted to a wide array of environments—globally common, or what we call weedy or urban species—will be most likely to persist,” said Parmesan. “Rare species that live in fragile or extreme habitats are already being affected, and we expect that to continue.”

The studies Parmesan analyzed also show that some species—those with short generation times like insects—are evolving in response to climate change, but not in ways that could prevent extinction.

“Some populations are adapting, but species are not evolving anything that’s really new, something we haven’t been able to say before because we didn’t have enough studies,” Parmesan said. “To really come up with something new that’s going to allow a species to live in a completely new environment takes a million years. It’s not going to happen in a hundred years or even a few hundred years. By then, we might not even think of it as the same species.

“The good news is that some species already had a few individuals that were good at moving, so some populations are evolving better dispersal abilities. These species are able to move faster and better than we thought they could as climate warms at their northern range boundaries. So, they’re expanding into new territories very rapidly.”

Parmesan said that pests and diseases are also showing the same northward shifts as other wild animals.

Parmesan also found that, at present, scientists cannot predict exactly which species will respond to climate change based on what kind of organism it is. Within groups of animals and plants, some species respond to climate change and others do not.

“Whether it’s within fish, trees or butterflies, you’re seeing some species responding strongly and some staying fairly stable,” said Parmesan. “But within each group you’re still seeing about half of the species showing a response. It’s a very widespread phenomenon.”

Parmesan’s review is published online in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics and is scheduled to appear in the print version of the journal this December. A PDF of this paper is available on the College of Natural Sciences Web site, or by contacting Lee Clippard or Parmesan.

For more information contact: Lee Clippard, media relations, College of Natural Sciences, 512-232-0675; Camille Parmesan, associate professor of integrative biology, 512-232-1860.


SOURCE: University of Texas at Austin

#2 Turtle

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 09:03 PM

Nice snag on the article InNow. :doh: Whatever the cause of global warming, this is a nice segue to an aspect of the subject I haven't seen broached yet here at Hypography. That is, the business of studying global warming.

First, to put extinction in perspective, it has a long and honorable heritage on our little rock.

Permian extinction:
95% of all marine life on earth was killed.
70% of all land families became extinct.

http://palaeo.gly.br...mian/intro.html

From this article, we have some revealing passages [italics mine] :

“Earlier synthesis were hampered from drawing broad conclusions by the relative lack of studies.
...
“Some populations are adapting, but species are not evolving anything that’s really new, something we haven’t been able to say before because we didn’t have enough studies,” Parmesan said.
...
Parmesan also found that, at present, scientists cannot predict exactly which species will respond to climate change based on what kind of organism it is.


Nothing like fostering a little job security by finding in a study that more studies are required. Who's paying for all these studies? Why the tax payers of course. Who is benefitting by them? That is unclear, given Dr. Goodwin's statement,

"To really come up with something new that’s going to allow a species to live in a completely new environment takes a million years. It’s not going to happen in a hundred years or even a few hundred years."


Can we better spend this money with scientific study of how to improve fuel efficiency, improve crop production (terra preta?), reduce pollution, etcetera? :hyper: Just thinking out loud. I won't know the answers definitively until I do some more study. :)

#3 C1ay

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 10:12 PM

“To really come up with something new that’s going to allow a species to live in a completely new environment takes a million years. It’s not going to happen in a hundred years or even a few hundred years.


And this is where all of the studies keep falling shoirt in their analysis of the causes contributing to global warming. In the same way the the rate of extinctions is growing the opposite is causing a growth in global warming, the population of the planet itself.

Setting aside the changes in the populations of all other species consider only the rate of growth of the human population over time. The world's human population in 1 CE was around 150 million. In approximately 1350 years this population doubled. In only 350 years this population doubled again bringing us to 4 times the population of 1 CE. In the next 200 years the population more than doubled to 1.6 billion. In the next 85 years this population more than tripled to 5 billion. That was in 1985. Projections estimate another doubling by 2050. This is more than a 66 fold increase in hundreds of years, not millions.

At the same time the spread of the human population has been at the expense of plant life as man continues to clear land to accomodate the spread of civilization. Imagine the effect as an animal species, which produces carbon dioxide as a product of life, continues to double while the very life required to convert that carbon dioxide back to oxygen continues to decrease at the same exponential rate.

Setting aside all of the debates over greenhouse gases and other theories of global warming it should be evident that our own existance and the rate of our own population growth is a key variable in global warming. It should be no surprise that the exponential growth in the population of any animal species will carry with it the cost of extinction of other species. Me thinks more people should give more thought to the reality of Stephen Hawking's suggestion that we will have to colonize other world's to survive. We are rapidly outgrowing this one and these growing rates of extinction show this clearly.

Just thinking out loud,
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#4 Turtle

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 05:37 AM

... It should be no surprise that the exponential growth in the population of any animal species will carry with it the cost of extinction of other species.

Me thinks more people should give more thought to the reality of Stephen Hawking's suggestion that we will have to colonize other world's to survive. We are rapidly outgrowing this one and these growing rates of extinction show this clearly.

Just thinking out loud,


It may also mean a precipitous crash of the human population; the lemming factor. :hihi:

I hadn't heard about Hawking's suggestion, then after you mentioned it here I saw a news piece on it about 20 minutes later. Does he have a specific plan, or just the suggestion we should be working on one?

Just listening quietly... :naughty: :)

#5 C1ay

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 06:44 AM

Just the suggestion that we should be working on one....

#6 cwes99_03

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 10:47 AM

I don't know Parmesan, but I have to ask.

Parmesan reviewed more than 800 scientific studies on the effects of human-induced climate change on thousands of species.


In reviewing 800 other studies and tieing their conclusions together, musn't one determine that all 800 studies are 1) valid 2) researching with similar non-exclusive techniques, 3) I'm sure there is a three but can't think of it with all this blinding snow around.

#7 Zythryn

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 11:57 AM

I don't know Parmesan, but I have to ask.


In reviewing 800 other studies and tieing their conclusions together, musn't one determine that all 800 studies are 1) valid 2) researching with similar non-exclusive techniques, 3) I'm sure there is a three but can't think of it with all this blinding snow around.



No, I don't think so Cwes. If these are 800 published/peer reviewed studies, that should take care of the issue. In addition, when looking at a variety of studies, I would rather the studies reach similar conclusions using different techniques. This would strengthen the conclusions in my mind.

The biggest single point I would be concerned about is that any studies that did not agree with the conclusions of the rest are not discounted out of hand, but instead mentioned in the conclusion.

#8 cwes99_03

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 12:40 PM

Yah different techniques would be cool, as long as they are non-exclusive. Not exactly sure what I mean by that though. I was thinking that some people can draw the same conclusions but their means of getting there are different. That in and of itself is fine, as long as one's means of getting there doesn't assume the others way of getting there is false.

I understand peer review, but 800 studies is a lot for such a short period of time. I would understand that some of the studies may go back to the 1970s but the majority of those 800 I would expect to have come from the last decade or so. Furthermore, studies form the 1970s have been shown by modern techniques to be flawed either in their conclusions, or in their methods. Thus peer review is fine and dandy as long as it stands up to years of scrutiny. Look at what has happened in the past 2 years with published articles in high standing Scientific Journals that were months later identified to have contained falsified data. One would have to check that all 800 were given equally good if not better scrutiny. 800 sounds like such a large number that it would take years for one (of a few) person(s) to individually review and compile into one study. 40 would seem just as ramifying but much more believable than 800 from my standpoint.

#9 InfiniteNow

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 02:01 PM

I understand peer review, but 800 studies is a lot for such a short period of time. I would understand that some of the studies may go back to the 1970s but the majority of those 800 I would expect to have come from the last decade or so. Furthermore, studies form the 1970s have been shown by modern techniques to be flawed either in their conclusions, or in their methods.

Huh? On what basis do you draw this conclusion?

Thus peer review is fine and dandy as long as it stands up to years of scrutiny.

I am relatively sure the person putting the above together is aware of this. Likewise, those that peer reviewed this article probable checked it as well.


800 sounds like such a large number that it would take years for one (of a few) person(s) to individually review and compile into one study.


It's called a metaanalysis. Computers help, because when they analyze the data, they're not looking at the discussion or the authored conclusion, but the numbers themselves. Also, who says they haven't been working on it for years? :girl_hug:

40 would seem just as ramifying but much more believable than 800 from my standpoint.

That's probably why you're not in research! :teeth:


Cheers. :boy_hug:

#10 cwes99_03

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 02:53 PM

Some studies from the 1970s actually proposed that the earth was going into a global cooling phase. Today's data states the opposite, that the earth is warming up.

This is an area where there is tons of skepticism.

I'm sure they are aware of it, if they are good researchers, but still you have to approach all things with a bit of doubt.

I'm not in research only because I decided to stop my PhD track and just live a simpler life.

There are plenty of studies out there that don't draw conclusions from even 2 other studies. They are often touted to be very strong, because the researchers had the time to really study each of their companions work and determine if anything was missed, or if a stronger conclusion could be drawn by looking at both data sets.

800 sounds like someone just trying to look impressive. Either that, or they were very small studies which didn't take long to check into. I could call 800 survey participants 800 studies if I have 800 researchers each do an analysis on one survey. We all know small studies are rarely accurate over a large population. I could say that a particular animal might be going extinct in my area, but then peer review would not allow me to publish either.

Maybe that is why when I read it I have the suspicious feeling in the back of my mind. The number 800 just seems quite large to me. Is it normal for someone to compose a study of 800 other studies? I'd rather hear how big their final dataset was.
I also guess I've said this before. I've never been ready to trust someone's conclusions unless they post the data along side it, or I have a lot of my own data that I can compare their results to. This is most likely due to my experience with other research students. Too many wanted the gratification of being done, not the gratification that comes from being right even when others don't recognize it. Being a lab TA for 2 years also leads me to these conclusions. It could be a shame that I didn't follow that career path, but then I like my life as it is now.

Oh and let's not forget this line from the above article. It draws conclusions that are still highly debated.

Parmesan reviewed more than 800 scientific studies on the effects of human-induced climate change on thousands of species.


Sure if you just dump data from 800 studies into a computer you'd just be analyzing the data, not the methods, techniques, etc. and trusting that these have already been done in the peer review process.

Maybe they did spend years studying this before they put out their report. But I didn't read that in the article.

In addition it says they didn't have these studies a few years ago. That means at the very best, they have only had a couple of years to compile all this data.

#11 InfiniteNow

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 02:57 PM

Maybe they did spend years studying this before they put out their report. But I didn't read that in the article.

You read the press release, not the study itself.

Here's a link to the work of this ONE scientist's work on the topic:
http://www.biosci.ut...an.htm#research


Cheers. :cup:

#12 cwes99_03

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 02:59 PM

Here's the PDF from the website.

http://cns.utexas.ed...impacts2006.pdf

#13 cwes99_03

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 03:20 PM

A couple of quick excerpts from the pdf.

An extensive, but not exhaustive, literature search revealed 866 peer-reviewed papers that documented changes through time in species or systems that could, in whole or in part, be attributed to climate change. Some interesting broad patterns are revealed. Notably, the publication rate of climate-change responses increases sharply each year. The number of publications between 1899 and January 2003 (the date of two major syntheses) was 528. Therefore, approximately 40% of the 866 papers compiled for this review were published in the past three years (January 2003 to January 2006).
...
In absolute numbers, most biological impact studies are from North America, northern Europe and Russia. Few biological studies have come from South America, and there are large holes in Africa and Asia, with most of the studies from these two continents coming from just two countries: South Africa and Japan. In past decades, Australia’s impact studies have stemmed predominantly from the coral reef community, but in recent years scientists have dug deep to find historical data, and terrestrial impact studies are now emerging. Similarly, the Mediterranean/North African region (Spain, France, Italy, and Israel) has recently spawned a spate of studies. Antarctica stands out as a region where impacts (or lack of impacts) on most species and systems have been documented, even though data often have large geographic or temporal gaps.
...
Few studies have been conducted at a scale that encompasses an entire species’ range (i.e., a continental scale), with only a moderate number at the regional scale (e.g., the United Kingdom or Germany). Most have been conducted at local scales, typically at a research station or preserve. Continental-scale studies usually cover most or all of a species’ range in terrestrial systems (Both et al. 2004, Burton 1998a,b, Dunn & Winkler 1999, Menzel & Fabian 1999, Parmesan 1996, Parmesan et al. 1999). However, even a continental scale cannot encompass the entire ranges of many oceanic species (Ainley & Divoky 1998, Ainley et al. 2003, Beaugrand et al. 2002, Croxall et al. 2002, Hoegh-Gulberg 1999, McGowan et al. 1998, Reid et al.
1998, Spear & Ainley 1999). Terrestrial endemics, in contrast, can have such small ranges that regional, or even local, studies may represent impacts on entire species (Pounds et al. 1999, 2006)


Now draw your conclusions.

#14 Erasmus00

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 03:23 PM

This is an area where there is tons of skepticism.


Not as much as you'd think. Climate scientists and geologists are pretty well convinced that these effects are real and happening. The problem is that the very, very small minority gets a lot of press.

There are plenty of studies out there that don't draw conclusions from even 2 other studies. They are often touted to be very strong, because the researchers had the time to really study each of their companions work and determine if anything was missed, or if a stronger conclusion could be drawn by looking at both data sets.

800 sounds like someone just trying to look impressive. Either that, or they were very small studies which didn't take long to check into. I could call 800 survey participants 800 studies if I have 800 researchers each do an analysis on one survey. We all know small studies are rarely accurate over a large population. I could say that a particular animal might be going extinct in my area, but then peer review would not allow me to publish either.


You don't seem to understand the point of a meta analysis. The idea is to collect the data from MANY, MANY studies and compare for large trends across the studies. No one EVER does a meta analysis on TWO studies! Meta analysis contain dozens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of studies.

Maybe that is why when I read it I have the suspicious feeling in the back of my mind. The number 800 just seems quite large to me. Is it normal for someone to compose a study of 800 other studies?


Yes. It is often called a meta study or a meta analysis.

I'd rather hear how big their final dataset was.


I'm sure all the details of their work is in their paper.

I've never been ready to trust someone's conclusions unless they post the data along side it, or I have a lot of my own data that I can compare their results to. This is most likely due to my experience with other research students.


You most likely worked with undergraduate research students. Graduate students are far less likely to rush things, given that it will almost certainly be noticed. (I'd like to say from the dedication to science, but ethics often breakdown when no one will notice).

Being a lab TA for 2 years also leads me to these conclusions.


The work someone does in a CLASS lab setting is completely different then the work someone does in a research environment. The two don't even begin to compare.
-Will

#15 cwes99_03

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 04:05 PM

I would agree whole heartedly with those last two observations. But I think that tactics learned in the undergrad often continue on. While they may realize that they will undergo greater scrutiny, that just means they have to work harder to make sure that any scrutiny won't reveal flaws or mistakes.
I'm being a pessimist.

Did you read the quotations I made above?

#16 InfiniteNow

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 04:48 PM

You also like to argue for the hell of it.

I advise if you wish 1) further information about the study, and 2) to refute it's points, you contact the author directly or complete your own study to be published in opposition.

The purpose of my posting it here was to share with the community a work which I found interesting... not infallible.

#17 Zythryn

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 04:43 PM

Some studies from the 1970s actually proposed that the earth was going into a global cooling phase. Today's data states the opposite, that the earth is warming up.


This is simply not true. As a matter of fact, I don't know if there was a single study on global cooling.

The idea of global cooling was spouted by many news outlets. And in a few climate studies the global temperature decrease from the 40's through the early 70's was noted.

One study did go so far as to say that the authors felt the earth would soon be entering a phase of global cooling sometime over the next 1000 years (that last part was left out by the media). Another study mentioned the trend from the 40's but identified that the trend was reversing and global warming was taking over.

The idea that in the 70s there was as much agreement about global cooling as there is now about global warming is a fallicy created by the energy companies and/or GW sceptics. Don't fall for it:)