The More the Merrier

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Science  20 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5491, pp. 411
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5491.411b

The distribution of species' phenotypes across natural temperature gradients due to changes in altitude and/or latitude may provide clues to their likely response to the effects of global warming. The freshwater shrimp genus Gammarus is particularly suitable for such studies, because it has several different species that are distributed abundantly across a wide range of heights in temperate lakes and streams.

Wilhelm and Schindler studied the variation in reproductive parameters (including egg size, egg number, and embryo development time) of G. lacustris in Canadian lakes at altitudes ranging from 700 to 2400m. Their data suggest that global warming would be likely to be accompanied by a shift towards smaller, more numerous eggs, which would in turn lead to more rapid life cycles and increase the population density of these shrimps. — AMS

Funct. Ecol.14, 413 (2000).

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