Climate change may threaten species of amphibians and reptiles in southwestern Europe

June 19, 2006

Projected climate change could trigger massive range contractions among amphibian and reptile species in the southwest of Europe, according to a new study published in the Journal of Biogeography.

Araújo et al. projected distributions of 42 amphibian and 66 reptile species 20-50 years into the future under four emission scenarios proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and two different climate models (HadCM3 and CSIRO2). The researchers found that increases in temperature are not likely to constitute a major threat to amphibian and reptile species in Europe. Indeed, a global cooling scenario would be much worse.

However, increases in aridity could trigger contractions in the distributions of nearly all species occurring in the southwest of Europe, including Portugal, Spain and France. Impacts in these three countries are not trivial because, together, they hold 62% of the amphibian and reptile species present in Europe.

The high proportion of amphibian and reptile species occurring in these three countries is due to the key role played by the Iberian Peninsula as refugia against extinctions during past glacial periods. With projected climate changes 'these hotpots of persistence might be at risk of becoming hotspots of extinction', says Dr.Miguel Araújo.

Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Explore further: Risk of interbreeding due to climate change lower than expected

Related Stories

Frogs face virus risk in garden ponds

June 3, 2015

Researchers from the University of Exeter found that the severity of ranavirosis, a devastating disease that kills thousands of frogs each year, increases in the presence of exotic fish. The use of garden chemicals was also ...

Recommended for you

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

Researchers find reasons behind increases in urban flooding

July 27, 2015

Scientists at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science investigating the increasing risk of 'compound flooding' for major U.S. cities have found that flooding risk is greatest for cities along the Atlantic ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.