PerspectiveEcology

Biodiversity and Climate Change

Science  06 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5954, pp. 806-807
DOI: 10.1126/science.1178838

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Summary

Over the past decade, several models have been developed to predict the impact of climate change on biodiversity. Results from these models have suggested some alarming consequences of climate change for biodiversity, predicting, for example, that in the next century many plants and animals will go extinct (1) and there could be a large-scale dieback of tropical rainforests (2). However, caution may be required in interpreting results from these models, not least because their coarse spatial scales fail to capture topography or “microclimatic buffering” and they often do not consider the full acclimation capacity of plants and animals (3). Several recent studies indicate that taking these factors into consideration can seriously alter the model predictions (47).