Climate Change and Animal Populations
In recent years, biologists have noticed changes in ecosystems that reflect changes in climate.
The extinction of the golden toad coincided with reductions in moisture levels in Costa Rica’s cloud forest. Over the past 30 years, the dry season in the area has become warmer and drier, a change that has affected many species. Researchers report that 20 out of 50 species of frogs and toads have disappeared from a 30-square-kilometer study area, and that toucans and other bird species have shifted their range, moving to higher altitudes.
Biologists have reported many biological responses to climate change, including:
- shifts in the ranges of 35 species of non-migratory butterflies.
- a decline in body weight of polar bears, resulting from early melting of sea ice.
- changes in the abundance of winter songbirds in four Great Plains states
- shifts in the species that inhabit California’s tidepools
- reduction of phytoplankton growth in the Ross Sea, a change that could disrupt the Antarctic food chain
http://www.exploratorium.edu/climate/bi ... data5.html