Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Risk of interbreeding due to climate change lower than expected

Date:July 6, 2015

Source:University of Washington

One of the questions raised by climate change has been whether it could cause more species of animals to interbreed. Two species of flying squirrel have already produced mixed offspring because of climate change, and there have been reports of a hybrid polar bear and grizzly bear cub (known as a grolar bear, or a pizzly).

"Climate change is causing species' ranges to shift, and that could bring a lot of closely related species into contact," said Meade Krosby, a research scientist in the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group.

She is the lead author of a study published July 6 in Nature Climate Change that tallies the potential number of such pairings. Looking across North and South America, it finds that only about 6 percent of closely related species whose ranges do not currently overlap are likely to come into contact by the end of this century.

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