Species may appear deceptively resilient to climate change

November 22, 2017, UC Davis
Mussel beds at Bodega Marine Reserve. Credit: Laura Jurgens

Nature itself can be the best defense against climate change for many species—at least in the short term­—according to a study published in the journal Ecology Letters from the University of California, Davis.

The study found that play a vital role in helping other plants and animals resist heat stresses ramping up with change—at least until the species they depend on to form those habitats become imperiled. This suggests a need to re-evaluate climate change predictions for many species, including predictions that species in the south will move north with global warming.

The work focused on the rocky shoreline stretching from California's Channel Islands to Washington's Olympic National Park, where low tides expose marine species to intense heat. It also has implications for habitats like grasslands and rainforests, which support millions of smaller species.

Ecological air conditioning

Similar to how trees support birds and chipmunks, species like mussels and seaweed form for other coastal species. They can lower temperatures so much for those other species that there is ultimately no difference in heat stress for sea creatures living in southern California versus northern Washington. If those habitats become suddenly imperiled, however, the species relying on them have little time to adapt.

Mussel beds at low tide at Bodega Marine Reserve in California. Credit: Laura Jurgens

"We might take for granted some of the resilience of our ecosystems because we don't realize how much they depend on these habitats," said lead author Laura Jurgens, who was a Ph.D. candidate at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory at the time of the study and is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Temple University and Smithsonian Institution. "For creatures that live in mussel beds and seaweed beds, it's like having a house with air conditioning at low tide. You can tolerate a lot of what goes on outside if you have air conditioning. But if you're looking at a future with more intense heat waves, and you don't have air conditioning anymore, you wonder, 'Where can I go?' For these species, they could make a big move north, but it won't help—they still need these habitats to keep the heat in a tolerable range."

The study indicates that plants and animals whose habitats serve as "ecological " are not likely to move until the other species protecting them are threatened. This could make those species more vulnerable to sudden events like warm blobs of ocean water, disease, extreme storms or intense heat waves. These species may appear "deceptively resilient" to climate change until one event takes away their habitats.

Habitat more important than latitude for some

The study adds to the understanding of how different species respond to climate change. Scientists have observed some plants and animals under climate change are leaving lower latitudes for cooler ones. But this study shows that, for some , habitat is more important than latitude in protecting them from the effects of .

Bed of mussels at Bodega Marine Reserve in California. Credit: Laura Jurgens

"If you're an octopus living in a mussel bed, the most important thing to keep your body temperature survivable is that mussel bed around you, not whether you live in Southern California, where it's warmer, or Washington," Jurgens said.

The study also reinforces the benefits of habitat conservation. It indicates that destroying habitat can reduce climate resilience, while restoring and conserving habitat can help maintain biodiversity as the climate warms.

"People are really big compared to most organisms on the planet," Jurgens said. "We're enormous, and it's hard for us to understand what it's like to be in these habitats unless you imagine yourself in a place like a forest you walk into on a hot day. If that temperature is what you need to survive, that forest better be there."

Explore further: For seagrass, biodiversity is both a goal and a means for restoration

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Shootist
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 22, 2017
Species may appear deceptively resilient to climate change


Deceptive? No. Why not?

Because the climate changes, ALWAYS and FOREVER. And every species on the planet has experienced vast climate change even within the past 1000 years.

Wheat, Barley and Dairy cattle raised on Greenland, by Vikings, for nearly 400 years. Can't do that today because it is TOO DAMN COLD.
egbert_p
5 / 5 (2) Nov 22, 2017
Look up Wikipedia Greenland Agriculture:
At present, local production accounts for 10% of potatoes consumption in Greenland, but that is projected to grow to 15% by 2020. Similarly, it has enabled new crops like apples, strawberries,[26] broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots[25] to be grown and for the cultivated areas of the country to be extended[27] although even now only about 1% of Greenland is considered arable.[28]

Modern sheep farming methods were introduced in the early 20th century, with the first farm built in 1906.[29] The farms provide meat for local consumption and wool mainly for export. Some 20,000 lambs are slaughtered annually in Narsaq by the state-owned Neqi A/S.[11]
In the south, there is also a small cattle farm.[30][31]

That was easy to debunk. I think it is a bit embarrasing that the climate sceptics make up stories nowadays that are so easy to debunk, at least they could put some efford in it.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Nov 22, 2017

Because the climate changes, ALWAYS and FOREVER. And every species on the planet has experienced vast climate change even within the past 1000 years.

Damn...you are one stupid person.

Speed of climate change is the issue. Not climate change per se.
barakn
5 / 5 (4) Nov 22, 2017
No evidence for wheat growing in Greenland at all. Zip, zilch, nada. The evidence for barley consists of a few scorched grains in a single layer at the bottom of one trash heap. "The find also substantiates a well-known text from about 1250, 'King's mirror (Konungs skuggsjá)', which mentions in passing that the Vikings attempted to grow grain on Greenland. It is the only report about cultivating barley that we have from that time and says: "As to whether any sort of grain can grow there, my belief is that the country draws but little profit from that source. And yet there are men among those who are counted the wealthiest and most prominent who have tried to sow grain as an experiment; but the great majority in that country do not know what bread is, having never seen it.""
https://ancientfo...eenland/
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Nov 24, 2017
No evidence for wheat growing in Greenland at all. Zip, zilch, nada.

We might also note that the last time any of Greenland was an agriculturally viable region the ocean level was 10 meters higher.
A few extra carrots from Greenland vs. abandoning basically all major cities and destroying all major farmland regions elsewhere does not seem like a sensible tradeoff.

Also anyone who thinks Greenland is huge - think again. That is just an artifact of how maps are projected. If you want to know how tiny it actually is you can go to
https://thetruesize.com
and drag it around. It's about a third the size of the US.

TrollBane
not rated yet Dec 10, 2017
Post this wherever Shootist uses the quote "The polar bears will be fine".
https://news.nati...nge-spd/

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