The Hot Zone

Can species adapt to climate change within decades?

Do organisms have the ability to adapt to climate change on a timescale of decades? A study published in the recent online journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B set out to test that question with the little West Coast tidepool copepod, Tigriopus californicus, which normally shows an ability to tolerate wide ranges in temperatures. Photo: Ron Burton University of California at Davis lead author Morgan Kelly brought the little critters into a lab, selecting eight populations native within a range... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 14, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans, The man made climate

Sixth extinction almost here, but not quite

Scientists define a mass extinction as when the Earth loses more than 75 percent of its species in short geological time, within 2 million years. This hasn’t happened very often — only five times in the last 540 million years. Is it happening now again? The “sixth extinction” has been discussed by biologists for decades. In a paper published this week in the journal Nature, University of California at Berkeley-led biologists take stock on the status of the the Earth’s... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 3, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past, The man made climate

Coal ash cause of Permian extinction

The mass Permian extinction 250 million years ago is frequently blamed on volcanoes. But a new study shows that what may have really tipped the climate was the volcanic release of massive amounts of combusted coal –  similar to modern day coal ash from coal-fired power plants. If so, modern day climate change hasn’t been the first time that burning coal was to blame. The extinction of that era wiped out some 90 percent of marine species, one of the largest extinction events in history.... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on January 28, 2011 1 Comment »
Category : Climates of the Past

Helping dying species find new habitats

Speaking of finding a habitable planet, the Sept. 24 journal Science has highlighted an interesting debate in the conservation community about recolonizing species that are going under because of climate change. The hope is that they can prevent species from going extinct by giving them a new home, one that is now habitable because of changing climate conditions. Some 20-30 percent of the Earth’s species are at high risk of extinction if global temperatures exceed 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 29, 2010 1 Comment »
Category : The man made climate

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