Small mammals at risk as world warms

May 26th, 2010

The biodiversity of small mammals in North America may already be close to a “tipping point” causing impacts “up and down the food chain” according to a new study by U.S. scientists.

Examining fossils excavated from a cave in Northern California, biologists from Stanford University, California uncovered evidence that small mammal populations were severely depleted during the last episode of global warming around 12,000 years ago.

The research, which was recently published in the science journal, Nature, underlines the effects climate change could have on all types of biodiversity, not just the “eye-catching species.”

“The temperature change over the next hundred years is expected to be greater than the temperature that most of the mammals that are on the landscape have yet witnessed as a species,” Hadly said in a statement.

“The small-mammal community that we have is really resilient, but it is headed toward a perturbation that is bigger than anything it has seen in the last million years.” she added.

Source: Small mammals at risk as world warms – CNN

Date: 26 May 2010

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