PerspectiveEcology

Biotic Multipliers of Climate Change

Science  22 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6088, pp. 1516-1518
DOI: 10.1126/science.1222732

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Summary

Many species face uncertain fates under climate change. Some will persist by shifting their range or adapting to local conditions, whereas others will be lost to extinction. Efforts to lessen the impacts of climate change on biodiversity depend on accurate forecasts. Most studies aiming to identify likely winners and losers consider species one at a time with a “climate envelope” approach that correlates species' occurrences with climatic and environmental variables. Using this method, researchers have predicted that by 2050, 15 to 37% of species will be faced with extinction (1). But which species are most likely to be under threat? And how will their loss affect the broader ecological community?