Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Failure to account for genetic variation can result in overestimating extinction risk

MAY 6, 2019
New research led by the University of Southampton has shown that the threat of range losses for some species as a result of climate change could be overestimated because of the ability of certain animals to adapt to rising temperatures and aridity. The researchers have now developed a new approach to more accurately determine vulnerability, which could aid conservation efforts by ensuring they are focussed on species most at risk. Their findings have been published today in the scientific journal PNAS.
Current methods for assessing vulnerability ignore the potential for some animal populations to adapt genetically to their changing environment, meaning they are able to survive in warming temperatures and drier conditions better than other populations within the same species.
The international team was led by Dr. Orly Razgour, lecturer in Ecology at the University of Southampton, and studied the genomic data of two species of bats native to the Mediterranean, an area which is particularly affected by rising global temperatures.

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