Study examines the impact of climate change on freshwater species

December 5, 2016

How might climate change affect the distribution of freshwater species living in rivers, ponds, and lakes? Investigators examined the capacity of species to shift their distributions in response to climate change using modeled projections of 527 freshwater species in New South Wales, Australia.

The researchers' simulations suggest that while there are many uncertainties, at least a third of species are likely to lose more than half their range under climate change"

"Early action is often viewed as critical to preventing under climate change but relies on models predicting into the future that are surrounded by uncertainty. Whilst predictions for a specific species may be considered unreliable, we can identify where the impact of on freshwater biodiversity in NSW is most consistent, as well as where different sources of uncertainty are influential," said Dr. Alex Bush, co-author of the Freshwater Biology study.

"We hope that by better communicating the distribution of modeling uncertainty, more strategic approaches can be employed to improve adaptive management and balance risks."

Explore further: Difficult to foresee how global warming will influence life in oceans and lakes based on existing research

More information: Alex Bush et al, Does dispersal capacity matter for freshwater biodiversity under climate change?, Freshwater Biology (2016). DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12874

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