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19 December 2011

Was lebt auf dem Grund der Nordsee – erste flächendeckende Modellergebnisse vorgestellt...

13 December 2011

Neue Schneckenart vor Südenglands Küste entdeckt...

05 December 2011

Mehr Todesopfer durch Schlangenbisse als bisher geschätzt – Experten diskutieren neue Behandlungsmöglichkeiten ...

02 December 2011

Zwei gegen einen Aufsteiger ...

28 November 2011

Vielfalt auf dem Acker als Hoffnungsträger...

24 November 2011

Small forest with big impact: Fragmented rainforests maintain their ecological functionality...

14 November 2011

Die Vermessung der Nachhaltigkeit...

31 October 2011

Welches Potenzial steckt in der biologischen Vielfalt? - Vortrag von Prof. Manfred Niekisch bei Vorlesungsreihe zu Biodiversität, Klimawandel und Gesellschaft...

27 October 2011

Macht uns der Klimawandel krank? - Thementag am 2. November 2011 im Senckenberg Naturmuseum in Frankfurt am Main...

25 October 2011

Valuing the savanna: Products from savanna generate 39 percent of total household income in Northern Benin (West Africa)...

12 October 2011

Genome of the brown bear is now sequenced - scientists hope to learn about adaptations to climate change...

11 October 2011

Warum geschieht so wenig, obwohl die Zeit davonläuft?...

05 September 2011

It’s all in the head: Songbirds with bigger brains have benefited from the end of communism...

30 August 2011

Diploma thesis about „Forest of the Future“ project has been awarded the P&G sustainability prize...

22 August 2011

Global warming may cause higher loss of biodiversity than previously thought...

21 July 2011

BiK-F plays host to International Climate Protection fellow...

08 June 2011

What's in store for lichens? – Pan-European “Common Garden” Experiment studies the reaction to climate change...

06 June 2011

Ein Land auf dem Trockenen: wie Namibia seinen Wassermangel bekämpft...

23 May 2011

Klimawandel beeinträchtigt die biologische Vielfalt und damit die natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen - auch in Deutschland...

20 May 2011

Alles im Fluss? Neuartige Lebensgemeinschaften in unseren Auenlandschaften – Herausforderungen und Chancen...

16 May 2011

Klimawandel und biologische Vielfalt in Deutschland – was kommt auf uns zu und was können wir tun? Experten tagen in Frankfurt...

09 May 2011

Bis zum letzten Tropfen: Warum und wo das Süßwasser knapp wird...

21 April 2011

Damit auch morgen noch genug Wasser für alle da ist: Vernetztes Wassermanagement im 21. Jahrhundert...

20 April 2011

Hyperdiverse flora in Cape region mainly caused by huge range of soil types ...

15 April 2011

Researchers establish short cut to genetic fingerprint of mahagony species...

08 April 2011

Kleine Menge, große Wirkung – Vortrag „Neue Umweltschadstoffe in den Gewässern“...

25 March 2011

Deutschland zwischen Wolkenbruch und Trockenperiode - Vortrag: Extremniederschläge im Klimawandel – Was wissen wir heute?...

11 March 2011

Von Parasiten und Toxinen: todbringendes Lebenselixier Süßwasser...

28 February 2011

Frankfurt – Stadt, Land, Fluss: Vortrag zur Entwicklung und Zukunft des Mains als Lebensader der Stadt...

17 February 2011

Neues gemeinsames Großprojekt: Die deutsche Mückenlandschaft - Forschung am blutsaugenden Insekt...

14 February 2011

Start der neuen Senckenberg-Vortragsreihe „Wasser! – Lebenselixier, Lebensraum, Lebensgefahr“ ...

08 February 2011

Tropical carriers: Hornbills are long‐distance seed‐dispersal agents in South...

02 February 2011

„Sieben Richtige“ für den BioCampus - Antrittsvorlesung der BiK-F-Professuren an der Goethe-Universität...

28 January 2011

Frankfurter Biodiversitätsforscherin in Nationales Komitee für Global Change Forschung berufen...

11 January 2011

Ancient raindrops reveal development of North American ridges...

Press Releases

Global warming may cause higher loss of biodiversity than previously thought

Frankfurt am Main, Germany, August 22, 2011. If global warming continues as expected, it is estimated that almost a third of all flora and fauna species worldwide could become extinct. Scientists from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum, BiK‐F) and the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung discovered that the proportion of actual biodiversity loss should quite clearly be revised upwards: by 2080, more than 80 % of genetic diversity within species may disappear in certain groups of organisms, according to researchers in the title story of the journal “Nature Climate Change”. The study is the first worldwide to quantify the loss of biological diversity on the basis of genetic diversity.

Drusus discolorMost common models on the effects of climate change on flora and fauna concentrate on “classically” described species, in other words groups of organisms that are clearly separate from each other morphologically. Until now, however, so‐called cryptic diversity has not been taken into account. It encompasses the diversity of genetic variations and deviations within described species, and can only be researched fully since the development of molecular‐genetic methods. As well as the diversity of ecosystems and species, these genetic variations are a central part of global biodiversity. In a pioneering study, scientists from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK‐F) and the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturkunde have therefore examined the influence of global warming on genetic diversity within species.

Over 80 percent of genetic variations may become extinct
For this purpose, the distribution of nine European aquatic insect species, which still exist in the headwaters of streams in many high mountain areas in Central and Northern Europe, was modelled. They have already been widely researched, which means that the regional distribution of the innerspecies diversity and the existence of morphologically cryptic, evolutionary lines are already known. If global warming does take place in the range that is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), these creatures will be pushed back to only a few small refugia, e.g. in Scandinavia and the Alps, by 2080, according to model calculations. If Europe’s climate warms up by up to two degrees only, eight of the species examined will survive, at least in some areas; with an
increase in temperature of 4 degrees, six species will probably survive in some areas by 2080. However, due to the extinction of local populations, genetic diversity will decline to a much more dramatic extent. According to the most pessimistic projections, 84 percent of all genetic variations would die out by 2080; in the “best case”, two‐thirds of all genetic variations would disappear. The aquatic insects that were examined are representative for many species of mountainous regions of Central Europe.

Slim chances in the long term for the emergence of new species and species survival
Carsten Nowak of the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK‐F) and the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturkunde, explains: “Our models of future distribution show that the “species” as such will usually survive. However, the majority of the genetic variations, which in each case exist only in certain places, will not survive. This means that self‐contained evolutionary lineages in other regions such as the Carpathians, Pyrenees or the German Central Uplands will be lost. Many of these lines are currently in the process of developing into separate species, but will become extinct before this is achieved, if our model calculations are accurate.” Genetic variation within a species is also important for adaptability to changing habitats and climatic conditions. Their loss therefore also reduces the chances for species survival in the long term.

New approach for conservation
So the extinction of species hides an ever greater loss, in the form of the massive disappearance of genetic diversity. “The loss of biodiversity that can be expected in the course of global warming has probably been greatly underestimated in previous studies, which have only referred to species numbers,” says Steffen Pauls, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK‐F), of the findings. However, there is also an opportunity to use genetic diversity in order to make conservation and environmental protection more efficient. A topic that is subject to much discussion at present is how to deal with conservation areas under the conditions of climate change. The authors of the study
urge that conservation areas should also be oriented to places where both a suitable habitat for the species and a high degree of inner‐species genetic diversity can be preserved in the future. “It is high time,” says Nowak, “that we see biodiversity not only as a static accumulation of species, but rather as a variety of evolutionary lines that are in a constant state of change. The loss of one such line, irrespective of whether it is defined today as a “species” in itself, could potentially mean a massive loss in biodiversity in the future.”

Paper:
Bálint, M., Domisch, S., Engelhardt, C.H.M., Haase, P., Lehrian, S., Sauer, J., Theissinger, K, Pauls, S.U., Nowak, C., Cryptic biodiversity loss linked to global climate change. Nature Climate Change (2011). doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE1191.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE1191

For further information please contact:
Dr. Steffen Pauls
LOEWE Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK‐F)
Phone +49 69 7542 1884
email: steffen.pauls@senckenberg.de

and

Dr. Carsten Nowak
Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung und LOEWE Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK‐F)
Phone +40 6051 61954 3122
email: c.nowak@senckenberg.de

or

Sabine Wendler
LOEWE Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK‐F), press officer
Phone +49 69 7542 1838
email: sabine.wendler@senckenberg.de

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