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How can scientists gauge evolutionary responses to climate change

1 December 2009 2 Comments

Technology.am (Dec. 01, 2009) — While global temperatures persist to increase scientists are on hand with the composite challenge of understanding how species react and adapt. In a paper published in Insect Conservation and Diversity, Dr Francisco Rodriguez-Trelles and Dr Miguel Rodriguez evaluate this challenge.

ClimateChangeTwentieth-Century global warming of roughly 0.6˚C has by now affected the Earth’s biota and currently the most important challenge in front of ecologists and evolutionary biologists is to forecast how biological impacts of climate change will unfurl in response to more anticipated temperature increases of up to 6˚C by 2100.

“This moderately mild level of thermal increase has by now caused shifts in species ranges, particularly at higher latitudes and towards the poles,” said Rodriguez-Trelles. “Understanding biological responses to global climate warming can be magnificently multifaceted, but chiefly it requires cautious quantification of the rates of temporal change,”

Assessing the trajectory of biological processes under global warming begins by obtaining precise estimates of these processes and relating them to historical records. This reveals if moderations in species are certainly long term responses, rather than the short term behavioral changes frequently encouraged by the succession of the seasons.

However, updating historical records is proving to be far less simple than may be supposed. This is because of the complexities of global warming, which concurrently to the augment in Earth’s temperature is causing an extension of the length of the emergent season.

This presents scientists with problems as to the exactitude with which time computation systems track the path of global warming-induced changes to the Earth System, and can guide to seriously indistinct results. Long-term studies of phenological trends demonstrate that neglecting the increasing interval between seasonal climate and calendar dates can direct to puzzling the direct and indirect effects of global warming.

“The proof of Earth’s life responses to global warming is overpowering. However a extensive advance to enumerate biological effects of global warming relies on comparisons Of historical with current records of biological variables,” concluded Rodriguez-Trelles. “In this paper we have identified several reasons why this strategy can lead to seriously distorted estimates of biological effects of global warming, as well as ways they could be handled in future studies.”

2 Comments »

  • Dov Henis said:

    What Are Evolutionary Responses

    Quantifying evolutionary responses requires, first, definition of evolution. You cannot measure what you cannot define.

    A. Quotes from “How can scientists measure evolutionary responses to climate change?”
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-11/w-hcs113009.php

    – “As global temperatures continue to rise scientists are presented with the complex challenge of understanding how species respond and adapt.”

    *** “How species respond and adapt” is plainly and simply what is the nature and mechanism of evolution.

    – “Understanding biological responses to global climate warming can be dauntingly complex, but primarily it requires careful quantification of the rates of temporal change.”

    *** “Biological responses” are “quantified rates of temporal change”, which are parameters of biological evolution.

    B. Quotes from “Variable temperatures leave insects with a frosty reception”
    http://communications.uwo.ca/com/western_news/stories/variable_temperatures_leave_insects_with_a_frosty_reception_20091125445337/

    – “Insects exposed to repeated periods of cold will trade reproduction for immediate survival.”
    – “In past research insects survived cold better if periodically exposed to warm conditions.”
    – “The data were tracked number, sex and development time of offspring.”

    *** What is “survived cold better”. Experimental observations and data in this type of study are correct if they are of communities, not of individual insects, and if the temporal parameters are nearest to natural. “Better survival” is, genetically, a broad community term, not an individual organism term. In evolutionary survival the individual hardly counts. It is hardly aught. It is the community, the total mass format, that counts. And the mass format counts because it is IT that represents factual successful survival, i.e. factual augmentation of replication, i.e. of overall constrained energy. And it is THIS feedback to the genome that causes replication of the involved gene(s) with accordingly modified expression(s).

    This is the reason why individual life, an organism, is the cheapest commodity on Earth. For universal evolution it is the total Earth biomass that counts, not any individual organism. You see this everywhere all around you.

    C. Quantifying evolutionary responses requires, then, first, definition of evolution. You can measure what you can define.

    Dov Henis
    (Comments From The 22nd Century)
    Updated Life’s Manifest May 2009
    http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/140/122.page#2321
    Implications Of E=Total[m(1 + D)]
    http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/180/122.page#3108

  • Termite Guide said:

    Definitely worth the read

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