Conservation

The hazards of isolation

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Science  27 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6229, pp. 1433
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6229.1433-d

Climate change threatens lemurs in Madagascar.

PHOTO: FRANS LANTING/MINT IMAGES/SCIENCE SOURCE

Climate change affects animals in many ways, including shrinking and shifting their range. On continents, shifts may facilitate adaptation, but many highly threatened species live in regions where geography limits how far their range can shift. One region facing this challenge is Madagascar, where most species are endemic. Brown and Yoder used a suite of spatial modeling approaches to predict how warming might affect Madagascar's iconic lemur species. They found that 60% of lemur species face range contractions due to climate change. They highlight regions of highest conservation concern and conclude that long-term persistence of lemurs will require maintaining dispersal corridors and reducing habitat loss.

Curr. Biol. 24, 2733 (2014).

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