Ecologists gain insight into the likely consequences of global warming

Jan 20, 2012

A new insight into the impact that warmer temperatures could have across the world has been uncovered by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

The research, published in the journal today (20 January), found that the impact of global warming could be similar across , regardless of local and species.

The team, based at Queen Mary's School of Biological and , went to Iceland to study a set of geothermally-heated streams.

The streams provided scientists with a unique environment to conduct their research; they were able to isolate the effects of temperature from other confounding variables found in nature.

Lead author, Queen Mary's Dr Daniel Perkins, explains: "The streams in Iceland are all very similar, in terms of their physical and , but maintain very different temperatures to each other all year round.

"This enabled us to explore how temperature, both past and present, affects the rate at which respiration responds to temperature in ecosystems".

Dr Perkins said that when the team exposed the organisms found in streams to a range of temperatures "the rate at which carbon was respired increased with temperature as expected, but surprisingly, rate of increase was consistent across streams which differed in by as much as 20°C".

Co-author Dr Gabriel Yvon-Durocher, also from Queen Mary, said: "Our findings demonstrate that the intrinsic temperature sensitivity of respiration is the same across a diverse range of organisms, adapted to markedly different temperatures. This result is important because it will help us build more accurate models to predict how rates of carbon dioxide emission from ecosystem will respond to the temperature increases forecast in the coming decades".

Dr Yvon-Durocher concludes: "Our results shed light on the temperature sensitivity of respiration over time scales of days to weeks, real differences between ecosystems may be apparent over longer time scales (e.g. years to decades), and progress in understanding these long-term responses will be key to predicting the future feedbacks between ecosystems and the climate."

Explore further: Giant anteaters kill two hunters in Brazil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate change impacts stream life

May 04, 2007

Climate change is warming Welsh streams and rivers, affecting the number and variety of some of their smallest animals, a major Cardiff University study has found.

Secrets behind high temperature superconductors revealed

Feb 22, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) have found evidence that magnetism is involved in the mechanism behind high temperature superconductivity.

Recommended for you

Giant anteaters kill two hunters in Brazil

12 hours ago

Giant anteaters in Brazil have killed two hunters in separate incidents, raising concerns about the animals' loss of habitat and the growing risk of dangerous encounters with people, researchers said.

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

Jul 24, 2014

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

Noise pollution impacts fish species differently

Jul 24, 2014

Acoustic disturbance has different effects on different species of fish, according to a new study from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter which tested fish anti-predator behaviour.

User comments : 0